Today’s question is from a paramedic
… looking at starting my own business teaching first aid and selling first aid kits which are specifically targeted at the marine industry.
I am looking at developing a mobile app which lists guidelines for first aid providers which would correlate with the first aid course and first aid medical kit.
My question is, what laws surround developing clinical guidelines for first aid use? Can I write them using evidence-based practice as a paramedic or do I need a doctor to endorse them something like a medical director?
If there are any other laws you think I should be concerned about for operating a first aid business please let me know.
Not surprisingly there is no specific law on these subjects. You can write a first-aid book that says whatever you think is good practice whether it’s supported by science or not – look at all the self-help and diet books in any bookshop. People who advocate crystal healing or using cow dung to ward off Covid can write a book on the subject if they want to, and some will take that book and try to apply what it says.
But if you want to be taken seriously, then any first-aid manual should be evidence-based and based on currently accepted best practice. It is not surprising to pick up any two first aid books and see that they won’t be very different. Most of the content will be based on Australian Resuscitation Guidelines and if the book is going to be used as a teaching tool to teach a nationally accredited first aid course such as HLTAID011 – Provide First Aid then the content is going to have to match that syllabus. But within whatever room there is to move then you can of course write your own. You may think there is a better way to explain a concept than other books use and you may be right.
There is no need for ‘a doctor to endorse hem something like a medical director’ – a doctor may know nothing about first aid or how to teach first aid to lay persons (and see The need for a medical director in an ambulance service (May 4, 2013; but note that post was written before paramedic registration came into force).
There are of course many ‘other laws you … should be concerned about for operating a first aid business’ – laws such as the tax laws, work health and safety laws, application of the Consumer Law (including obligations that services provided are fit for purpose and not to engage in misleading and deceptive conduct), employment law, insurance law etc but these are all beyond the scope of this blog. Anyone starting a business should have a mentor or professional team to advise them on the appropriate structures and obligations.
Another consideration is maybe the issue of copyright? Wouldn’t you need to ensure the material/content you publish is not subject to copyright by previous publishers?
That is indeed a fair point, you could not simply copy someone else’s content without their permission, including the content of the ARC – see https://resus.org.au/download/general/arc-disclaimer-and-copyright-statement.pdf
You are correct Michael
The Australian Resuscitation Council sets Guidelines for first aid in Australia. Most of the first aid companies, st John, Red Cross, Allens Training etc the interpret and rewrite and publish and teach these guidelines in their own way.
The ARC is a consensus committee of people of a wide range of skills and both reviews international and local research and makes it suitable for Australia. Australian research is highly valued. for instance the envenomation protocol was entirely ours.
I was a member the NSW ARC for over 20 years and helped Allen’s Training put their book together. First aid in Australia is particularly good and also practical because the input to the protocols comes from such a diverse group. I am an electrician and a firefighter.
Although this process has been in place for many years I am not aware of any legislative requirements either