Today’s question comes from a South African registered paramedic who has:
… applied to register with AHPRA, and [is] waiting on decision. … [My correspondent is] not working at an ambulance service in Australia, and never had, I work offshore in Malaysia safety/medic, FIFO Gold Coast. I have practiced as Intensive Care Paramedic equivalent in South Africa until 2006, but have always kept my HPCSA registration, and CPD updated. I am under the impression they may want me to work under a mentor via grandfathering, but I am finding it difficult to get the ambulance service to assist me in this. Any idea how to go about this? I have a lot to offer, and am willing to volunteer, but it seems it is difficult for me as professional to offer my services for free, perhaps due to potential litigation, I am not sure. The AHPRA registration is long overdue compared to internationally. This however prevents me from applying locally for work, because I need to be AHPRA registered.
I cannot answer most of that, in particular I cannot give advice on how to ‘get the ambulance service to assist me in this’. There is no obligation upon the service to provide work or volunteer opportunities just because someone wants them.
With respect to registration a paramedic can register if they hold an ‘approved qualification’ (ie an approved degree from an Australian university), an ‘accepted qualification (ie Diploma qualification issued by the NSW Ambulance Service’). The Grandparenting provisions apply if the applicant does not hold an approved or accepted qualification but can demonstrate that they:
- hold a qualification or have completed training that the Board considers adequate; or
- hold a qualification or have completed training in paramedicine and have also completed further study, training or supervised practice required by the Board; or
- have completed five years of practice over the past 10 years and satisfy the Board that you are competent to practise paramedicine.
It is up to the Board to assess my correspondent’s South African training and experience in South Africa and elsewhere to determine if he or she falls within (1), (2) or (3) above.
The requirement to undertake supervised practice in Australia appears to be only relevant where the application is relying on option (2) above, that is the applicant holds ‘a qualification or have completed training in paramedicine and have also completed further study, training or supervised practice required by the Board’ (see Paramedicine Board of Australia, Grandparenting Pathways (24 August 2018)).
My advice would be wait for the Board to make a decision. They may allow registration under options (1) or (3) above. If they do require supervised practice in Australia, then it will be up to my correspondent to discuss with the Board and relevant jurisdictional ambulance services as to what is required and what can be done. The ambulance services do not, however, have an obligation to make opportunities available to someone just because they want to register in Australia