20th June 2014

Image: Paramedics and instructors along with Quality Mark assessors.The National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) has been awarded the Skills for Health Quality Mark for their excellent delivery of teaching and learning.

The National Ambulance Resilience Unit was established in summer 2011 and works with NHS Ambulance Trusts to support the development of properly trained, equipped and prepared ambulance responders that can deal with hazardous or difficult situations, particularly mass casualty incidents that represent a significant risk to public health.

NARU Head of Education David Bull QAM said: "We are extremely proud to be the first NHS ambulance organisation to receive the prestigious Skills for Health Quality Mark which underlines the high standards we constantly strive to attain.

"Whilst the process was extremely rigorous, the end result has been well worth it, and the Quality Mark focuses on the key factors that underpin the high-quality teaching, learning and assessment that we are delivering to thousands of ambulance staff.

"This signifies that we are a truly world-class training facility and we look forward to sharing these skills with a wider group of healthcare professionals as time progresses."

Based in Wiltshire, NARU's Education Centre trains ambulance staff to save lives in the most difficult of circumstances.

The Quality Mark assessors, Anne Close and Allyson McLeod-Hardy from the National Skills Academy for Health, observed classroom teaching and practical simulated outdoor sessions at the Centre.

They found that the Centre's delivery staff had a thorough knowledge of their subject. The trainers built an excellent rapport with their learners and were able to pass on their knowledge in a professional and effective way. The high quality of the delivery observed was reflected in the feedback from learners and commissioners who both rated the service as ‘excellent'.

The delivery team work very closely with other emergency services and other health professionals to ensure they keep up to date with new initiatives and equipment. NARU also uses external ‘subject experts' when needed to ensure that the learners are given the best possible experience.

Image: Two, very wet Quality Mark assessors.Anne Close, project specialist at the National Skills Academy for Health, said: "Allyson and I were very impressed with the quality of teaching and learning that we observed. So much so that we took part in the final exercise that the paramedics undertook as part of their Urban Search and Rescue training. This gave us an opportunity to see the training up close and personal.

"The activity was a simulation of the aftermath of an explosion in an office block and involved the paramedics and ourselves crawling through the debris in darkened tunnels and into the derelict building in extremely dusty, wet and cramped conditions to look for and treat survivors.

"Although we both suffer from claustrophobia it was testament to the confidence we had in the training team and the paramedics that we agreed to join in.

"It was not for the feint hearted! However, it was a fantastic and memorable experience and if it were a live situation I am sure that anyone involved would feel safe and secure in the hands of these paramedics.

"The Centre's training team deliver teaching and learning to a very high standard. They are passionate about what they do and all team members strive to ensure that the learner experience is of high quality, fit for purpose and enjoyable.

"We were delighted to be able to recommend that NARU be awarded the Quality Mark in recognition of their excellent delivery of teaching and learning."

Image: Anne Close and Allyson McLeod-Hardy observing the 'Trench Rescue' exercise..Commenting on the Quality Mark award, Chris Hewett, NARU's Training Manager, said: "There is always room for improvement and I hope this process will give us new ideas. I am proud of what we do - we are very aware that this is a unique training environment and there are things we can learn from other education centres.

"Frankly, and without a word of a lie, I have never worked in an environment where everyone is so passionate about what they do. This is not restricted to the trainers; it applies to the admin staff, the logistics team, finance etc., and this rubs off on me and, most importantly, the learners!"