Ambulance care assistant and patient transport service driver

Ambulance care assistants or patient transport service (PTS) drivers move people to and from clinics and hospitals. 

Working life

Ambulance care assistants and patient transport service (PTS) drivers move people to and from outpatient clinics, day centres and routine hospital admissions. They work with people who are not able to drive or use public transport because they are disabled, elderly or vulnerable. 

As well as driving, ambulance care assistants and PTS drivers also lift and help patients in and out of the vehicle. They make sure patients are safe and comfortable during the journey and arrive on time for their appointment. Some of their passengers might be anxious about their visit so the driver or assistant may talk to them to reassure them. Drivers and assistants usually cover a particular geographical area. They often see the same people on a regular basis and get to know them.

Some drivers work alone, driving a car to transport one or two more able-bodied people at a time. Others may work as part of a two-person team using a specially designed ambulance with a tail-lift for wheelchairs, carrying several people on each journey.

Ambulance care assistants are trained in resuscitation in case a patient is taken ill while in their care. Other duties include making sure that the vehicle is clean and tidy and keeping an accurate record of their journeys.

More experienced PTS drivers may take on specialist work such as transporting:

Drivers and assistants are based at a central depot such as a large hospital or ambulance station, with a team of other assistants.

Training and development 

Ambulance care assistant and patient transport service drivers usually have an initial two to three week training course. This covers:

Training includes practical assessments and written exams. Once you have passed these tests, you are allocated to an ambulance station. You work under the guidance of a trained supervisor before working unsupervised.

Later you could take further training to work with patients with particular needs, such as kidney patients or babies.

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