Paramedics Australasia welcomes the announcement by the NSW Minister for Health that the Baird Government will act to protect the title ‘paramedic’.
The announcement from Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health, follows on from a recent meeting of Paramedics Australasia representatives Joe Acker (NSW Chair) and Ian Patrick (Official National Registration Spokesperson) with Minister Skinner’s Chief of Staff, Senior Policy Advisor, Deputy Secretary of Governance, Workforce and Corporate, and the Chief Executive and Executive Director of the NSW Ambulance Service.
At the meeting PA representatives expressed disappointment to learn that the New South Wales Government does not support paramedics becoming a registered health profession in Australia. However, the meeting was very constructive and we were able to provide information that broadened the view of the participants on paramedic practices across Australia. This included the current status in NSW where there is no restriction on the title or paramedic and that NSW is the only jurisdiction in Australia that supports a vocational pathway for paramedics.
We welcome the announcement of protection of title, and the statement from Mrs Skinner that it will give patients and their loved ones the confidence that when in the hands of a NSW paramedic, they are receiving the very best clinical care. However, it is Paramedics Australasia’s clear position that only national registration of paramedics within the regulated framework of other health professions under AHPRA would create a professional safety net for both paramedics and the public.
Under a national registration scheme, paramedics would be required to maintain professional registration through mandated continuing professional development and adhering to a professional code of conduct. In addition, national registration will provide standards for those paramedics working for private ambulance companies in the inter-facility transport, mining, special event, and hospitality industries.
National registration will also help make paramedic practice safer through a third-party accreditation structure for education providers, and an entry to practice exam or registration process to ensure new paramedics meet a safe minimum standard. This would prevent practitioners who don’t meet the minimum standards from moving across jurisdictions.
PA is continuing to liaise with the NSW Health Minister, the NSW opposition Health Minister and other Ministers throughout Australia encouraging support for the professionalism of paramedics through a national registration and regulation scheme.
Dr Peter Hartley, President