IC24's Star of the Month – Alex Walter
Welcome to IC24’s Star of the Month, where each month we’ll celebrate an amazing IC24 healthcare professional who has gone above and beyond to help patients or has shown serious commitment to their self-development. This month we spoke to Alex Walter, an Advanced Care Practitioner from our weekend Sussex home-visiting service.
During the past few years, Alex Walter, a Paramedic Practitioner from our weekend Sussex home-visiting service, has worked tirelessly with his self-development to progress from being an Urgent Care Practitioner to an Advanced Care Practitioner. Alex’s progression was supported by IC24 and The Coppice and Angmering Medical Centre.
Alex joined IC24 in 2014, as part of the weekend Sussex home-visiting service and is now based at Angmering Medical Centre in West Sussex during the week. Alex was originally recruited as an Urgent Care Practitioner, but through continuous self-development and the support of IC24 and the surgery, has now progressed to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner*.
*Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) come from a variety of professional backgrounds including nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, paramedics and occupational therapy. They are experienced healthcare professionals with a master’s level award or equivalent, who have developed their skills and knowledge to take on expanded roles and scope of patient care.
Alongside his weekend work with IC24, Alex joined The Coppice Surgery and Angmering Medical Centre in West Sussex in 2017, after starting his master’s degree to progress into advanced clinical practice. Due to personal circumstances and the ongoing pandemic, Alex will complete his master’s degree in the next few months. He’s also recently completed the Independent/Supplementary Prescribing Postgraduate Certificate at the Medway School of Pharmacy (in partnership with University of Kent and University of Greenwich). Alex decided to explore this supplementary qualification, when new legislation came into force in April 2018, which allowed advanced paramedics to prescribe medicine to patients.
“I do think that there is a lack of awareness around paramedics and prescribing. It was only due to a change in the Human Medicine Regulations in April 2018 that allowed paramedics to support GPs through an independent prescribing course. The idea was that paramedics can deal with the more common presentations, so GPs can focus on more complex long-term cases. For patients, this means more timely access to medicine, as it saves unnecessary trips to hospitals or additional appointments with other health professionals to access the medication they need.”
Support through an IC24 bursary
Alex was supported with this qualification by both IC24 and The Coppice and Angmering Medical Centre. IC24 paid for the course fees through its yearly bursary scheme, whilst The Coppice and Angmering Medical Centre supported Alex with placements and time off for his face-to-face course requirements. As a social enterprise, IC24 recognises the importance of offering support and development opportunities. Each year IC24 awards the bursary to two individuals, supporting them to undertake a professional qualification – one clinical and one non-clinical. These individuals are funded up to £3,500 per year for up to three years.
“It was great to be supported by both organisations with my qualification. The reason I chose the Medway School of Pharmacy qualification is because it has the best reputation and is regarded as one of the toughest courses within this field. I never make it easy for myself when it comes to self-development. I’m pleased I chose this qualification, as it carries considerable weight. Unlike other prescribing courses, the Medway School of Pharmacy qualification gives you 60 credits and a full postgraduate certificate, rather than 45 credits at a Level 7.”
“My successful completion of the qualification has definitely been a three-way effort between myself, IC24 and The Coppice and Angmering Medical Centre. It’s fantastic that I’m now able to prescribe for patients.”
“Whilst I do encourage others to look into the course and focus on self-development, it is a massive time commitment and requires a lot of dedication."
After a couple of pandemic-related delays, Alex successfully finished the Independent/Supplementary Prescribing Postgraduate Certificate in February 2021 and is now an Advanced Clinical Practitioner.
How his new accreditation will help deliver better patient outcomes
Before his self-development, Alex was able to work from a limited group of patient group directions, dispensing medicine under strict guidance. His new accreditation means that he is now classed as an independent prescriber and is responsible for safely prescribing medication to complement treatment plans for a range of medical conditions.
A sincere well done to Alex on his continued self-development. Stay tuned for the next instalment of the ‘IC24 Star of the Month’. You can find out more about our brilliant people by searching #MadeToBeBrave on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Please note that we have a range of Advanced Care Practitioner (ACP) and Urgent Care Practitioner (UCP) roles available at IC24, covering out of hours, IUC and CAS. To find out more, check out our careers website.