Hawke’s Bay Friday 13/12/2013: An Ambulance Officer has had his name suppression lifted following serious charges of a sexual nature. Christopher Roger King was charged with stupefying, indecent assault, sexual violation and making an intimate visual recording of a woman.

Speaking in Ashburton today, Paramedics Australasia (New Zealand) Chairperson Sharon Duthie MPA said: “The profession views these charges very seriously as paramedics occupy one of the most trusted roles in the community. Paramedics provide critical medical care to patients in a variety of vulnerable situations and the public trusts us to be above reproach.”

“While nurses, doctors, midwives, dentists and other health professions are currently regulated as medical professions in New Zealand, there is no national registration for paramedics to protect the title and ensure accountability.” Mrs Duthie said.

“New Zealand has some of the most highly trained paramedics globally and their work with various Paramedic and Ambulance Services provides world class emergency care. However, paramedics often work unsupervised or alone – especially in rural areas – which warrants the highest standards of ethics and continued assessment of fitness-to-practice to protect patients” she said.

Paramedics are currently not regulated under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (2003) and are not accountable to an independent regulatory board like the other health professions. The principle of the Act is “to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practice their professions.”

Mrs Duthie added “There is no national registration framework or monitoring of standards across New Zealand like the regulation one finds in other countries such as the UK, Ireland, South Africa and some Australian states. The profession strongly supports national regulation and calls on government to implement statutory registration of paramedics at the earliest opportunity to ensure public safety.”