Today’s correspondent:

… was doing some reading I came across on Duty of Care.  Before Christmas, before registration of Paramedics came in, I was regarded as a Paramedic as I do have the diploma of Paramedical Science, then Registration came in after Christmas and unless your Registered you can’t call yourself a Paramedic, I am now wondering about this question:- if I was to attend a vehicle accident, or an industrial accident, where now does that put me with the law, as I am qualified as a Paramedic before Christmas I could use all skills and meds for my level of training, now after Christmas if I don’t use all my skills and knowledge and someone dies because of that reason, could I be charged for not using all my skills and knowledge that I could have used before Christmas?  Where do all of us stand as far as treating someone who hold the diploma of paramedicine? Do we withhold certain treatment because we are not registered and sadly watch the patient deteriorate, or do we do what we are trained for?  Will we be charged for holding back treatment because of the stupid registration process that was rushed through and be charged for not doing what we used to be able to do, or do we do what we can for the patient and still be charged. Where do we stand with the law?  It seems a very grey murky area.

It’s not grey or murky at all.   With due respect to my correspondent the question suggests a misunderstanding on what registration means.

Registration under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law is about title protection, not scope of practice.  Since December 2018 only a registered paramedic can use the title ‘paramedic’ and it is indeed an offence to use the title if you are not registered (Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, Division 10).  The law however says nothing about scope of practice, that is there is nothing that is inherently paramedic practice or that only a registered paramedic can do.

For my correspondent the difference is that before 1 December 2018 he or she could use the title ‘paramedic’.  After that date (assuming he or she had not applied for registration before that date and the application has not been decided (see Paramedicine Board, Fact sheet: Using the title ‘paramedic’ after 1 December 2018) he or she is no longer entitled to use the title ‘paramedic’.  But my correspondent is still trained to do all the things that he or she did before 1 December.

The use of medication is complex but I’ll assume that my correspondent either had personal authority or was employed by and endorsed by a person with a relevant authority (see The last word on scheduled drugs? (September 29, 2019)).  The authority to carry drugs does not (yet) come with registration as a paramedic so, depending on the wording of any drugs authority, registration won’t have made a difference.

Subject to the fact that I have not seen whatever drug authority my correspondent works under the simple answer will be that registration makes no difference to his or her scope of practice.

My correspondent is as qualified now as he or she was before Christmas. They can use all skills and meds for their level of training. After 1 December 2018 they still have those skills and training and if they are going to treat an injured person, they should use them.  There is no legal impediment to doing what you can to help a person in need.

My correspondent should not withhold certain treatment because he or she is not registered because there is no treatment that only a registered paramedic can administer.

Do what you are trained to do.  Registration is irrelevant. The only thing you cannot do is use the title ‘paramedic’.