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Recognised Blue Light Responder Qualifications

DEFAULT BLUE LIGHT ENTITLEMENTS ASSOCIATED TO CLINICAL GRADES (valid evidence required which is accepted by either the NHS Ambulance Service, the Police or the Fire and Rescue Service)

Police Medic
Car and/or class C1 vehicle
Police issue blue light certificate
Fire Medical Responder
Car and/or class C1 vehicle and/or class C vehicle
Fire Service issue blue light certificate
Ambulance Care Assist
No blue light entitlements
First Responder
No blue light entitlements (unless evidence of current NHS Trust deployment on blue lights has been supplied)
Emergency Care Assistant
Ambulance Only
NHS Ambulance Trust recognised course
Ambulance Technician / Associate Ambulance Practitioner
Ambulance and Car
NHS Ambulance Trust recognised course
Ambulance and Car
NHS Ambulance Trust recognised course

If your blue light driving certificate is not accepted for use on public roads by at least one organisation within one of the above-described services we cannot reflect it on your HPAC ID card or the public register.

For clarification an NHS ambulance service” means—

(a) an NHS trust or NHS foundation trust established under the National Health Service Act 2006 which has a function of providing ambulance services;
(b) an NHS trust established under the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 which has a function of providing ambulance services;
(c) the Scottish Ambulance Service Board.]

All ambulance related applications must be accepted by at least one NHS Ambulance Trust - Hospitals with formal agreements in place with their local NHS Ambulance Trust to contract/conduct such journeys as High Dependency Unit transfers under blue light conditions will also be recognised by HPAC.

The Health Practice Associates Council can only recognise blue light driver qualifications that are accepted by at least one statuary emergency service provider for use in relation to the grade applied for on the HPAC register - these services are predominantly police, fire and rescue, and NHS ambulance service.

*For example an applicant presenting a blue light certificate issued by the police can not use it interchangeably for a grade meant for use by the ambulance service such as Emergency Care Assistant, however, this would be accepted if the applicant applied as a Police Medic. In the same way, an NHS blue light responder certificate can not be expected to be used by the police as a pursuit qualification.

Rapid Response Vehicle: In order to be recognised as a Rapid Response Driver/blue light car driver a registrant's clinical grade must be accepted for lone response work in blue light conditions by an NHS Ambulance Trust.

HPAC recognised 4x4 emergency response driver entitlement: Please note that unless you specifically supply 4x4 training evidence or contact us to discuss 4x4 entitlement by default 4x4 will not be included on your HPAC blue light driver's licence card. A certificate or a signed statement from a recognised NHS driver trainer stating that you have been specifically trained in a blue light scenario to operate the vehicle using four-wheel drive on low friction surfaces such as snow, mud and off-road must be supplied. *Being trained in normal conditions using a 4x4 capable vehicle does not qualify as a specialist 4x4 emergency response driver training.

Blue Light Ambulance Driving Instructor:We can only register individuals for this grade who hold qualifications that are currently accepted by at least one NHS Ambulance Trust or who are actively engaged in the delivery of emergency response driver training for an NHS Ambulance Trust under local agreement or employment.

One of the underpinning principles of the HPAC is to simplify and assist NHS Ambulance Trusts (and the wider arrangement) in standardising practices across the UK meaning that in the area of driver training the focus is ambulance centric. It is not therefore the function of HPAC to recommend qualifications for acceptance. Should NHS Ambulance Trusts at a point in the future decide to accept a currently "unaccepted qualification" for this role applicants who possess these are free to apply to the register. Equally, should recognition or acceptance of a currently accepted qualification be withdrawn by the NHS then the HPAC would no longer be able to maintain such a registration on our system.

Section 87 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Exemption of fire brigade, ambulance and police vehicles from speed limits.E+W

(1)]No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for [Fire and rescue authority], for ambulance purposes or police purposes, if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion.

Subsection (1) above applies in relation to a vehicle that, although not being used for ambulance purposes is being used for the purpose of providing a response to an emergency at the request of an NHS ambulance service.

(1B)In subsection (1A), “an NHS ambulance service” means—

(a)an NHS trust or NHS foundation trust established under the National Health Service Act 2006 which has a function of providing ambulance services;

(b)an NHS trust established under the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 which has a function of providing ambulance services;

(c)the Scottish Ambulance Service Board.

Section 50 of the Deregulation Act 2015.

Ambulance Purposes was defined in the case of DPP v ISSLER where an Ambulance is described “the vehicle had to be designed or adapted so that it was capable of conveying sick, injured or disabled persons and to do with a frequency such that the core activity might fairly be designated as its primary use.” Critically this approach focused on the sole or primary use, not what the vehicle was being used for on the day.  It was ruled that a car could never fulfil the definition of an Ambulance as the existing legislation was held to be correct that

“Ambulance” means: “A Vehicle which is constructed or adapted for, and used for no other purpose other than, the carriage of sick, injured or disabled people to or from welfare centres or places where medical or dental treatment is given and is readily identifiable as a vehicle used for the carriage of such people by being marked “Ambulance” on both sides.” Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 1997

An “Ambulance” is:

“A Vehicle specially designed for that purpose, the vehicle should have the facility to secure a recumbent person in a stretcher, or it should be fitted with the necessary ramp or lift and  clamps to enable a person or persons to be safely loaded, unloaded, and transported in a wheelchair.” H.M. Customs & Excise Ref.: Item 11 of Group 7, Schedule 9 to the VAT Act 1994 Exemptions.