Paramedics have again been voted as one of the most trusted professions for 2014 in the Reader’s Digest Annual Poll of most trusted brands. Along with Rescue Volunteers they came second behind Firefighters as the most trusted.

The peak professional body Paramedics Australasia (New Zealand) (PANZ) paid tribute to the dedication and life-saving clinical skills that had enabled paramedics to hold the respect of the New Zealand public. PANZ Chairperson Mrs Sharon Duthie said that paramedics were humbled by the trust shown in the profession.

“While paramedics are best known for their work with emergency Ambulance Services, across New Zealand, the professional practitioners and volunteers work in a variety of healthcare settings to care for those who are most vulnerable and in need”.

Mrs Duthie said that the great trust placed in paramedics carried heavy obligations and also contained a measure of risk.

“While we are honoured that the public shows such 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.” Mrs Duthie said.

“New Zealander rely 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”, she said.

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

Registration of paramedics would limit the potential for fraud and patient harm by ensuring that only persons who are fit to practice and meet appropriate competency standards can call themselves paramedics. A Parliamentary Committee had recommended registration some time ago but to date that had not eventuated.

“Paramedics are already registered in a number of other jurisdictions, including UK, Ireland and South Africa. Registration is also being proposed by the profession and other healthcare stakeholders in Australia, with a decision imminent”, she said.

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

For further information contact:

Sharon Duthie: Sharon.duthie@paramedics.org.nz

Howard Wills: Howard.wills@paramedics.org.nz

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