FREC® Suite – The Truth of the Matter
There has been much speculation, anticipation and misinformation about the new suite of Qualifications from Qualsafe.
At the time of writing there are only five centres accredited to run FREC. They are HDP Medical Services, Festival Medical Services, Meditech Global OnTime Medical and North East Rescue and Medical. More will follow, but as yet, you can only get your QA Level 3 Certificate in First Response Emergency Care from those centres. Any centre advertising Level 4 HAS NOT GOT IT YET. No one has!
Some centres will only be authorised to deliver the Level 3. Beyond this, the tutor must be a Paramedic, Nurse or Doctor with a 1500 hours of Recorded CPD in the previous two years. There will be a more limited number of Level 4 Centres, namely those with full time venues and staffing levels, and who can meet the equipment and experience requirements of the upper level courses.
Some of the industry “sources” have been heard offering gems like, “It’s not recognised by any Ambulance Service”, and “It’s just another FPOS”. This, unfortunately reflects poorly on their actual understanding of the educational system, and their understanding of the marketplace in which they operate. You will always find experts, generally trying to undermine new standards that they fall short of. I can think of many qualifications which Ambulance Services don’t accept…. especially foreign ones…. The truth of the matter is that they are on the Qualifications Core Framework, unlike the FPOS Suite. We shall wait to see what happens at the end of the year to comment on other pathways. We have all read, I am sure, about other options in the market, many of which have been unsuccessful.
The Suite will be comprised of four qualifications. They offer a modular route, much like the IHCD route, undeniably, where we undertook Modules D, E and F at Technician Level, and G, H, I and J at Paramedic Level (Mod J being the extended skills module which was not offered by all Ambulance Services). Whilst it is simple to describe in that fashion, there ends the similarity.
QA Level 3 Certificate in FREC
QA Level 4 Certificate in FREC
QA Level 4 Extended Certificate in FREC
QA Level Diploma in FREC. (Level is still being decided)
Overall, they will build to 750 hours of Course and Portfolio. This is not a short route. It certainly isn’t a “5 Day EMT”, which should only stand , IMHO, for 5 Day Event Medical Technician (loosely, very loosely) or 5 Day course for Emergency Makers of Tea!
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There are a number of points here:
- You cannot start the Suite anywhere other than Level 3. Other than RPL which will reduce the time which you spend at the FREC Centre for your level 3, there is no other way to jump to upper levels.
- The qualifications are not designed to be run concurrently with any other course, so dismiss those centres giving you extra skills as a bolt on without extending the course length.
- Also, be aware of the FPHC Statement on the training of Invasive Skills, and don’t waste your money on skills that you won’t be able to use other than after the Zombie Apocalypse or when you deploy to a War Zone.
- They are not designed to be run back to back. Each qualification has a 150 hour timespan from start to finish. You should expect approximately 118 hours of pre and post course reading, research and clinical practice hours on top of your FREC Course. The 118 hours will be audited by your FREC Centre and a CPD Certificate issued. Without this, you will be unable to progress to the next level.
It needed some clarification, and I hope this has explained the Basics of FREC. For those doubters, and “Industry Experts” mentioned, we have consulted with Qualsafe, and are engaged further in the processes of the upper levels. We have been involved in the Design and Delivery of Clinical Courses within the NHS and the Pre-Hospital environment marketplace. We are Qualified in the UK, with a Clinical Lead that has qualified as a Paramedic traditionally via the IHCD, The FdSc in Paramedic Science at Teeside, and the BSc in Professional Practice from the University of Northampton.