Paramedics get upgrading boost

New programme has paramedicine diploma that can lead to advanced diploma or degree

Chief of Defence Force Perry Lim presenting a prize to Military Expert 1 Ang Jia Rui, who was top of his class of 12 who received their Health Sciences (Emergency Medical Services) diplomas from JIBC.
The Chief of Defence Force, Major-General Perry Lim, presenting a prize to Military Expert 1 Ang Jia Rui, who was top of his class of 12 who received their Health Sciences (Emergency Medical Services) diplomas from JIBC.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Paramedics here will have more options to upgrade their skills with the launch of a new programme.

The diploma in paramedicine at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) can lead to an advanced diploma, or to a degree. In July, a minor in paramedicine and emergency response was launched by SIM University (UniSIM).

These enhanced training pathways were announced by Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung yesterday when he launched the National Paramedic Training and Education Roadmap.

The start date of the diploma programme will be released later.

Mr Ong, who is also Acting Minister for Eduation (Higher Education and Skills), said paramedicine is a critical field as it ensures there is ready emergency care for people.

Paramedics also train full-time national serviceman medics, who support frontline operations, medical centres and outfield battle casualty stations. "What you do makes the difference between life and death," he said in a speech to some 100 paramedics from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and private ambulance operators.

He assured them that academic results would take a back seat as they progress in their careers, with no grade point average requirement for the relevant courses at NYP and UniSIM.

"So long as you are in a vocation, you can do the job, you are performing well, the path is open for you to seize," he said, speaking at the headquarters of the SAF Medical Corps in Nee Soon Camp.

The roadmap is in line with the SkillsFuture initiative and was developed by employers, regulators, and educators in the Paramedic Professional Standards Committee.

It includes an enhanced emergency medical specialist course by the SAF, which was launched in June as an upgrading course for emergency medical technicians.

The SAF's Military Expert study award will also be extended to paramedics, said Mr Ong.

At the event, the SAF, SCDF, Institute of Technical Education, NYP, UniSIM and the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) - which conducts paramedicine courses - signed a memorandum of understanding.

There are around 450 paramedics here. One of them is Military Expert 1 Ang Jia Rui, 23, whose class of 12 graduated with a Diploma in Health Sciences (Emergency Medical Services) from JIBC. He said the new courses will encourage more people to further their studies.

"I'd like to enter management in the future and groom future batches of paramedics," said the vocational skills instructor at the SAF Medical Training Institute, who chose this career after once seeing someone collapse in front of him.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2015, with the headline 'Paramedics get upgrading boost'. Print Edition | Subscribe