I think it's the an absolute disgrace to the face of prehospital medicine.
Should you wish to be a Firefighter, go to Fire school.
Do you think your patients and coworkers want to be treated by or work with an Ambulance Officer who is a true professional with a desire to work in prehospital medicine or some wanker who wants a quick patch to make himself look flash and get on da big red truck?
Basically we used to have "Primary Care", "Intermediate Care" and "Advanced Care" officers which was sort of like Basic/Intermediate/Paramedic but the service didn't really implement it very well e.g. the ACO patch said "Paramedic" while the PCO patch said "Proficency" or "Ambulance" depending upon your Service. The Intermediate Care was two modules (IV/Cardiac) so when did your Cardiac you got a new patch which said "Cardiac" then when you did IV you got a patch saying either "IV/Cardiac" or "Intermediate". Lots of public confusion and we are changing to Technician/Paramedic/Intensive Care Paramedic. It's a shame that we didn't implement the PCO/ICO/ACO titles better because I think in some ways just putting "Paramedic" after the title eg a "Primary Care Paramedic" or an "Advance Care Paramedic" sounds a lot better.
AO stands for Ambulance Officer; it's the generic term for all crewmembers regardless of practice level that has been around since the seventies. It is also the term for our entry-level Diploma but this will soon be changed to Ambulance Technician to avoid confusion between the double-meaning of "Ambulance Officer"