It is with great pleasure that I share the news that my friend, former ANU colleague, former PhD student and regular collaborator Dr Ruth Townsend has been appointed to the Paramedicine Council of NSW.
For the purposes of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, NSW is a ‘co-regulatory jurisdiction’ that is ‘A jurisdiction which is not participating in the health, performance and conduct process provided by the National Law, but is involved in other parts of the National Scheme’ (https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Support/Glossary.aspx; see also Health Practitioner Regulation National Law s 5).
In New South Wales there is a council established for each of the registered health professions. Each council is a health complaints entity; that is they have functions that include ‘conciliating, investigating and resolving complaints made against health service providers and investigating failures in the health system’ (Health Practitioner Regulation National Law s 5). Each council is also a ‘co-regulatory authority’ and an ‘adjudication body’ (Health Practitioner Regulation National Law s 5; Health Practitioner Regulation (Adoption of National Law) Act 2009 (NSW) ss 6A and 6B).
That is a long way of saying that it is the Paramedicine Council that is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints against paramedics in NSW. In doing so it must apply the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (see Paramedicine Council of NSW, What we do).
The Paramedicine Council is made up of four paramedics, a community member and a legal member. Dr Townsend is the legal member.
I congratulate Dr Townsend on her appointment. I also congratulate the Minister for making the decision to appoint Dr Townsend to this position. Ruth has made a long contribution to the field of paramedicine and has authored texts, articles and chapters on professionalism, ethics and law in paramedic practice, so she brings that specialised, expert knowledge to the role. I also congratulate Charles Sturt University where Ruth works as ‘a lecturer in law, ethics and professionalism’. Her paramedic students should be reassured that they are being taught by a recognised expert and thought leader in their chosen field.
Congratulations Ruth and well done on another opportunity to further advance the profession of paramedicine in NSW.