Today, 1 December 2018, is the commencement day for paramedic registration.  From today if you have not applied for registration you cannot continue to call yourself a ‘paramedic’.  But the registration process takes time.  Today’s correspondent asks about a letter from the Paramedicine Board (at this point I note I haven’t seen the letter, I’ve been given what I’m told is the wording of the letter, not an actual scanned copy).  I’m told the letter says:

Thank you for lodging your application for registration with the Paramedicine Board of Australia (the Board). Your application is currently under review.

Under section 85 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each State and Territory (the National Law), if a Board or its delegate has not made a decision about your application by December 8, 2018, your application will automatically be refused unless an extension of this date is agreed upon.

Given that your application is still under assessment, we propose to extend this date until March 8, 2019.

If you agree to this extension please advise us in writing via return email by December 4, 2018.

My correspondent’s questions are:

  1. How long does ‘the board’ have to make a decision?
  2. Is the practitioner effectively registered until a decision is made?
  3. Is Dec 8 an arbitrary date chosen by ‘the Board’ or is this something written into the ‘Health Practitioner Law’ etc.
  4. When are we likely to see the board define what a Paramedic is and does, as I feel this will likely greatly effect registration applications of the future, and potentially open avenues for re-application?

Section 85 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law says:

If a National Board fails to decide an application for registration within 90 days after its receipt, or the longer period agreed between the Board and the applicant, the failure by the Board to make a decision is taken to be a decision to refuse to register the applicant.

It follows that the answer to question 1 is ’90 days or such longer period as is agreed’.  It also means that the answer to question 3 is that December 8 is not an arbitrary date chosen by the Board, it is presumably the date that is 90 days after this particular application was submitted.

The answer to question 2 is that an applicant for registration as a paramedic is ‘effectively registered’ provided they submitted their application before today, 1 December (Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, s 315).   The Paramedicine Board says (

If you have applied for registration before participation day on 1 December 2018 (the day paramedicine regulation starts), you can continue to practise as a paramedic while your application is being assessed, which may occur after participation day.

If you apply for registration after participation day, you will be unable to practice as a paramedic until your application is assessed and decided.

The answer to question 4 is that the Paramedicine Board is unlikely to define what paramedics do.  The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law does not seek to define scope of practice and neither do other Boards.  The Paramedicine Board has however published Professional capabilities for registered paramedics (29 June 2018).  As for who a paramedic ‘is’ I think we know that – a paramedic is a person with an approved or a substantially equivalent qualification or an accepted qualification issued by NSW Ambulance; or a person who meets the requirements under the grandparenting provisions.