Paramedics Australasia is celebrating an announcement from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to move toward national paramedic registration see ‘Australian Paramedics to be Nationally Registered‘ (6 November 2015), but is that really the case? The official communiqué from COAG says (p 2):
Options for national registration of the paramedic profession
Health Ministers discussed options for the registration of paramedics and, on a majority vote, the meeting agreed to move towards a national registration of paramedics to be included in the National Registration Accreditation Scheme with only those jurisdictions that wish to register paramedics adopting the necessary amendments. Ministers agreed that work would need to come back to AHMAC for consideration. This would include the consideration of implementation of the recommendations of the NRAS Review, resolution of the scope of the paramedic workforce and the development of vocational as well as tertiary pathways. It was noted that NSW will reserve its right to participate. The Commonwealth dissented from the decisions as it is not consistent with the principles of the NRAS as a national regulatory reform.
This does not say that registration has been settled, but that the majority of ministers agreed ‘to move towards a national registration of paramedics’ but only for ‘those jurisdictions that wish to register paramedics’! This may be registration under the Australian Heath Practitioner Regulation Agency for some, but it does not yet look like national registration. Further it’s been agreed that ‘work would need to come back to AHMAC for consideration’! Neither NSW or the Commonwealth appear to be on board!
I’m all for paramedic registration; see
- Eburn M and Bendall, J ‘The provision of Ambulance Services in Australia: a legal argument for the national registration of paramedics’ (2010) 8(4)Australasian Journal of Paramedicine Article 4 (previously (2010) 8(4) Australian Journal of Emergency Primary Health Care, Article 990414).
- Townsend, R and Eburn, M., ‘Registration of Paramedics’ (2015) Vol 42(1) Response(Official Journal of Paramedics Australasia) pp 22-23.
- Townsend, R and Eburn, M., ‘Paramedics administer drugs and deliver babies, they deserve national registration’ The Conversation, November 13, 2014
- ‘Paramedic registration – and why you should care’. Presentation to ACT Ambulance, Canberra, 9 October 2015 [Audio], the National Council of Ambulance Unions Annual Conference, Canberra, 20 August 2015 [Audio] and at the Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine annual conference, Sydney, 15 August 2015. [Presentation] [Audio]
I can therefore see that this step is some cause of celebration. I understand that Paramedics Australasia may have ‘inside knowledge’ on the thinking and intention of the Ministers when I only have the COAG communiqué. But, based on that communiqué, it appears that whilst there has been another, tentative step toward paramedic registration, it is still not ‘national’ and there is still work to be done. it looks to me like it’s a bit too early to be popping the champagne corks.