Media Release

Paramedics have again topped the list as the most trusted profession for 2014 in the Reader’s Digest Annual Poll of 1200 people across the nation.

The peak professional body Paramedics Australasia congratulated all paramedic practitioners on their dedication and life-saving clinical skills that had enabled them to hold the respect of the Australian public.

Paramedics Australasia President, Ian Patrick said that – “While paramedics are best known for their work with emergency Ambulance Services, across Australia in the private, public and military sectors they work in a variety of healthcare settings to care for those who are vulnerable and in need”.

“While we are honoured that the public shows a high level of trust for our profession, the reality is that the title of ‘Paramedic’ is not protected, and virtually anyone can call themselves a paramedic.” Mr Patrick said.

“Australians rely heavily on paramedics to respond to emergency and general health incidents that occur away from established healthcare and hospital emergency facilities, and a robust national registration system is needed to ensure the competency of anyone who carries the title of paramedic”, he said.

“Given the level of trust placed in paramedics and the risks of their advanced clinical interventions, we are concerned that there is no national registration of the profession that would help to protect the public from less qualified persons who might pass themselves off as paramedics”.

Registration of paramedics would limit the potential for fraud by ensuring that only persons who are fit to practice and meet appropriate competency standards can call themselves paramedics.

In addition to protecting the public, paramedic registration would foster greater flexibility and mobility to service the diverse healthcare needs of our rural and remote communities and fill some of the demand for private service providers.

Paramedics are already registered in a number of other jurisdictions, including UK, Ireland and South Africa. Registration has also been recommended in New Zealand.

Mr. Patrick said that governments were currently considering proposals to add Paramedics to the list of registered professions through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency alongside nurses, medical practitioners and other health professionals. A decision was expected in the near future.

“In the public interest we call on Ministers to support the implementation of registration without delay and thereby foster the unique role and contributions that paramedics can make in the healthcare system.” Mr. Patrick said.

For further information contact Robyn Smith, Executive Officer Paramedics Australasia robyn.smith@paramedics.org.au (ph. +61 3 5331 9584)

Download a PDF of this media release here.