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Driving standards scoping document

Recognised Blue Light Responder Qualifications

All ambulance related applications must be accepted by at least one NHS Ambulance Trust or the Driver Training and Advisory Group (DTAG).

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.

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.

Points on your licence: If your Driver's Licence has seven points or more, we will not be able to add you to the Blue Light Register or reflect you as a blue light driver on your HPAC profile. You will be removed from the Blue Light Register if you acquire six points or more on your driver's licence at any point during your registration with us. It is the registrant's responsibility to inform us if the points on their licence are reduced to below six points if they wish to be added or re-added to the Blue Light Register.

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 InstructorWe can only register individuals for this grade who hold training qualifications that are currently accepted by at least one NHS Ambulance Trust.

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 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 & Excuser.: Item 11 of Group 7, Schedule 9 to the VAT Act 1994 Exemptions.