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Salary Range
€25k - €33k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Drivers providing the routine, non-emergency transport of patients, who are often older adults or people with disabilities, to and from hospitals.


  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.


  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

In Summary - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

Career Sectors

Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operatives typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Medical & Healthcare

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The Work - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

Previously called Ambulance Care Personnel, Intermediate Care Operatives (ICO) provide a comprehensive and dedicated Patient Transport/Intermediate Care Service within the National Ambulance Service.

Some of the Clinical/Patient Care Responsibilities of ICOs include:

  • Safe transportation of non-emergency patients to hospital and any other location as required.
  • Deliver care to patients in an emergency situation while awaiting the arrival of or in support of Paramedics or above up to their level of competence .i.e. Emergency Medical Technician.
  • Provide safe and secure transportation of specialist teams including multiple incubator situations using specialised moving and handling equipment.
  • Provide the logistical, support and transport needs of retrieval and transport medicine teams.

ICOs are employed in the safe transportation of patients, walking and assisted walking, wheelchair, and stretcher to and from Out Patients Departments, Clinics, Day Hospital, Day Centres and any other locations as required.  
Persons employed in the Patient Transport Service operate minibus type vehicles but may be required to work as a second person on non-emergency two-person vehicles or to operate Multi-purpose Vehicles which will include wheelchair and stretcher access. They may also need to administer intervention injections and other drug treatments.  
ICOs also check vehicles and equipment daily on taking up duty. They have to keep up-to-date records of their journeys, and of their patients. They stay in touch with Ambulance Control Centres by radio all day, so that the control centres know where they are and can give them instructions.  
ICO personnel drive the vehicle, help the patients into and out of the vehicle, and make them comfortable and secure. Some patients need to be lifted from wheelchairs. Ambulance Care Assistants may have to enter people's homes to collect patients. They can be faced with distressing situations and work can be physically demanding and can also be emotional.  
Note: This job may not exist in some Energency Service Areas. Those interested in this work should check with the HSE.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Drive ambulances or assist ambulance drivers in transporting sick, injured, or convalescent persons.
  • Remove and replace soiled linens or equipment to maintain sanitary conditions.
  • Place patients on stretchers and load stretchers into ambulances, usually with assistance from other attendants.
  • Accompany and assist emergency medical technicians on calls.
  • Earn and maintain appropriate certifications.
  • Replace supplies and disposable items on ambulances.
  • Report facts concerning accidents or emergencies to hospital personnel or law enforcement officials.
  • Administer first aid, such as bandaging, splinting, or administering oxygen.
  • Restrain or shackle violent patients.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interests - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


You need to get on well with people from all backgrounds. You must be friendly, caring and responsible. Patient Transport Service Personnel talk to patients, hospital staff and representatives of other organisations, such as social services. Therefore, you will need to have excellent communication skills.  
A great deal of patience is often required and a mature outlook is needed. You will need to be physically fit and able to lift patients. A clean driving licence is required along with the ability to read maps and follow directions easily.  
Stamina is needed as you could be asked to work shifts and also on call for long periods. You must be highly skilled in order to treat and stabilise patients.

Entry Requirements - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

Eligibility Criteria for the Grade of Intermediate Care Operative (ICO) with the National Ambulance Service:

  • Current registration on the Emergency Medical Technician Register held by the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC)
  • Possess the National Qualification in Emergency Medical Technology and the PHECC EMT Practitioner’s Licence
  • Hold of a current, full, unendorsed Class C1 driving licence – (Note Irish 78 Restriction is not acceptable)
  • Possess the requisite knowledge and ability, including a high standard of suitability, for the proper discharge of the duties of the office

See also: National Ambulance Service Recruitment Information Pack [October 2016]

You can register your interest for specific grades by emailing talentpool@hse.ie. When a competition for this grade of staff is about to be launched you will receive an email notification, alerting you to the campaign advertisement.

You can also register for alerts on www.publicjobs.ie where all HSE and NAS recruitment campaigns are advertised.

Campaigns are also advertised on the HSE website 

See alsoNational Ambulance Service

Last Updated: November, 2016

Pay & Salary - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €25k - €33k

Salary Scale as at 01.01.2016:
25,834 - 32,906 (Basic)

Data Source(s):
HSE; National Ambulance Service

Last Updated: November, 2016

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

Useful Contacts - Ambulance Assistant / Intermediate Care Operative

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