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Paramedic: Salary and conditions

  • Salaries are covered by the National Health Service (NHS) Agenda for Change  pay scales. Paramedic salaries start in Band 5, which ranges from £21,176-£27,625.
  • For team leaders or paramedics who have undertaken extended skills training in critical care or trauma, salaries are in Band 6: £25,528-£34,189. Some degree courses include this additional training however it is still likely that you would start your career at Band 5 progressing into Band 6 through an appraisal process when the additional skills have been evidenced in your work.
  • Employee benefits may include an NHS pension scheme, study leave for sponsored courses, relocation package and access to counselling services and physiotherapy treatment.
  • The emergency ambulance service is always open requiring paramedics to work in shifts to cover every hour of the day. Paramedics typically work 37.5 hours per week, usually including night and weekend shifts and cover for public holidays. There is usually an annual leave entitlement of 27 days, plus public holidays or time in lieu.
  • You may be required for additional stand-by and on-call duties, especially in remote areas.
  • Jobs are available in all NHS trust regions throughout the UK.
  • Uniforms are worn and protective clothing, such as a bright jacket and boots, may be necessary.
  • The work is physically demanding and can be psychologically and emotionally stressful. Debriefing, chaplaincy and counselling systems are in place and stress management courses are available.
  • Ambulance crews are sometimes exposed to verbal and physical abuse, particularly as a result of the increasing number of alcohol-related call-outs.
  • Nightshift and weekend working may impact on social life.
  • Travel within the working day is a regular feature of the role not just within your own region but also partnering trusts when cover might be low. You may finish your shift over an hour away from your base station. Overseas work or travel is unusual.

Salary figures are intented as a guide only.

Written by Helen Meyer, University of Hertfordshire
May 2012

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