Vocational training for paramedics highly effective – Paramedics Australia

You may not be aware of the changes to the qualifications that need to be attained in order to become a paramedic in Australia. These changes could influence your career in the medical emergency response industry, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with events.

Paramedic degrees

Paramedics Australasia (PA) have made it clear they are strong advocates for a national registration and accreditation scheme for paramedics within the regulated structure of other health professions under AHPRA.

On the 9th February the NSW Chapter Chair of PA met with NSW Health staff at the Health Minister’s office in Sydney to discuss paramedic registration.

Both shared the view that they are strong advocates for a national registration and accreditation scheme for paramedics within the regulated structure of other health professions under AHPRA.

It was duly noted that the motive for Paramedics Australasia to support registration is to protect the general public.

The term ‘Paramedic’ is widely misinterpreted

It was explained to the Minister’s staff that the title of “paramedic” is not protected in most Australian states and territories within Australian and not all paramedics are employed by public ambulance services.

There are thought to be over 120 private organisations in Australia who employ paramedics including several that operate within NSW.

The Health Ministry staff explained that the current legislation and practices in NSW, including the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulations, provide assurances that work performed by private ambulance services is safe.

“title protection for paramedics in NSW”

The discussion centred around the challenges that exists in NSW where individuals providing first aid services at community and sporting events called themselves ‘paramedics’.

The NSW Health staff recognised that this is a concern and that the Minister may consider title protection for paramedics in NSW.

The potential benefits of paramedic registration were highlighted and recommendations including a third party conduct and competency process, a national register of paramedics, a formal structure and process to credential national and international practitioners, an organisation to monitor continuing professional development and maintenance of competency, a national education curriculum, and the national accreditation of university education.

Health Ministry staff were noticeably perplexed

At the meeting it was clear that some of the Health Ministry staff were noticeably perplexed about the current education pathways for paramedics in NSW.

It was explained that paramedicine is a 3-year degree in Australia and every state and territory, except NSW, require an undergraduate degree as an entry to practice standard.

Vocational training for paramedics produces highly skilled paramedics

The meeting also acknowledged that “the vocational pathway produces highly skilled paramedics” and that any registration scheme would have to include provisions to recognise paramedics training in the vocational system.

It was made clear that the NSW Health position is to retain a vocational pathway for paramedics within the NSW Ambulance Service. It was also clear from the meeting that the NSW Health Minister’s staff and advisors do not support the registration of paramedics at this time.

The Health Minister’s staff were encouraged to consider supporting paramedic registration in N.S.W, or at the very least consider the proposition of opting out of a national registration scheme instead of opposing it.

View the excellent resources from Paramedics Australasia

Paramedics Australasia will continue in its efforts to garner political support for paramedic registration in NSW and across all states and territories in Australia leading up to the next meeting of the Australian Health Ministers in March.

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