National Registration for Paramedics
What is the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health professions?
The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme) was established in 2010 to ensure the safety of consumers of health services provided by registered health practitioners. More than 650,000 practitioners from 14 registered health professions are currently regulated nationally. Under the National Scheme, National Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) work together to ensure that practitioners are appropriately qualified and competent to practise as a registered health profession. National Boards exercise functions in accordance with the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).
What level of consultation preceded the proposed legislative amendments?
In the lead up to the proposed amendments to the National Law, targeted consultation took place with stakeholders around Australia during February 2017. As these amendments included provisions for the registration of paramedics, national and jurisdictional forums were well attended by paramedic representatives and other key stakeholders.
Are paramedics currently registered?
Paramedics are not currently required to be registered in any state or territory. However, the title ‘paramedic’ is protected under legislation in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania and may only be used by paramedics holding qualifications set out in the relevant state legislation.
Background to the paramedic bid for Registration
On 6 November 2015, the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (the Ministerial Council) announced its intention for paramedics to be regulated as part of the National Scheme. On 7 October 2016, the Ministerial Council agreed to proceed with the inclusion of paramedics in the National Scheme and noted that paramedics would be registered in all jurisdictions.
How does the new Paramedicine Board of Australia become included in legislation?
On 24 March 2017 the Ministerial Council considered a draft of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Amendment Bill 2017 that if passed, will amend the National Law to regulate the paramedicine profession, including establishing a Paramedicine Board of Australia (National Board).
Once the Amendment Bill is finalised, it will be passed to Queensland and Western Australia for enactment by their respective Parliaments. If the Amendment Bill is passed in Queensland, the changes will apply automatically in all other states and territories, except for:
- Western Australia which must pass its own legislation
- South Australia where regulations must be made to adopt the changes.
When will paramedics become registered?
On 6 September 2017 the Queensland Parliament passed an Amendment Bill to the National Law supporting the national regulation of paramedics. Subject to the Bill attaining Royal Assent paramedics will be able to be registered nationally for the first time in Australia. At this stage, registration of paramedics is expected to commence in the second half of 2018 (around September 2018). The date on which registration of paramedics commences is referred to as “participation day” and is to be prescribed in a regulation.
What is the role of the Paramedicine Board of Australia?
Ministers may appoint the National Board in the coming months (anticipated September 2017) subject to the National Law being amended. During the 12 month preparation phase, National Board (once appointed) and AHPRA will work together to implement Ministers’ decision and prepare the paramedic profession for regulation. Part of this will be liaising with and engaging leading stakeholders such as the Health Ombudsman in Queensland. This means that people who are currently working or are qualified as paramedics understand what national regulation means for the profession, and what they will need to do to seek registration before the participation day. National Board members have a statutory obligation to put the public interest first and ahead of any professional interests. As a leading stakeholder QAS will liaise with the National Board and AHPRA during this time to scope the paramedic profession in Queensland and to be in a strong position to give informed and accurate advice and feedback to AHPRA and the National Board during the 12 month implementation phase.
What action is QAS taking regarding this initiative?
The QAS has been working closely with the Department of Health (the Department), the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on the inclusion of Queensland paramedics into the National Scheme. To accommodate the raft of changes for paramedics to be registered and included in the National Scheme, a dedicated project team within QAS is responsible for progressing this work in Queensland. Actions of the team will include:
- implementing a communications plan which will include comprehensive communications to practitioners, the public and consumer stakeholders. The plan will include all types of communiques including website summaries and links, fact sheets, bulletins, posters, brochures, tele/videoconference meetings, forums and stakeholder meetings
- leading Queensland transitional arrangements to direct conversion from a non-registered to registered status for paramedics
- providing Queensland policy feedback to the new Paramedicine Board of Australia and AHPRA
- reporting to the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services and liaising with appropriate unions regarding workforce matters.
AHPRA - Frequently Asked Questions on National Registration for Paramedics
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has developed a selection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help answer some of the common enquiries about the proposed regulation of paramedics under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme). These FAQ have been prepared in advance of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) Amendment Bill being debated in Queensland Parliament and are based on AHPRA’s experience in administering the National Law Health as it applies in each state and territory for the current 14 registered health professions.
It is intended that these FAQ will be revised subject to the Amendment Bill being passed, and if new questions are asked by paramedics and other interested stakeholders.
National Board Ministerial announcement of establishment of inaugural Paramedicine Board of Australia
The Ministerial Council is very pleased to announce the establishment of the inaugural Paramedicine Board of Australia with the first appointments of the Chair, practitioner and community members.
Ministers have appointed a nine member board:
- Associate Professor Stephen Gough ASM as practitioner member from Queensland and National Board Chair
- Associate Professor Ian Patrick ASM as practitioner member from Victoria
- Ms Clare Beech as practitioner member from New South Wales
- Mr Keith Driscoll ASM as practitioner member from South Australia
- Miss Angela Wright as practitioner member from Western Australia
- Mr Howard Wren ASM as practitioner member from a small jurisdiction - the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
- Ms Linda Renouf as community member from Queensland
- Ms Carol Bennett as community member from the ACT
- Mrs Jeanette Barker (nee Evans) as community member from New South Wales.
The Paramedicine Board of Australia will work with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) over the next 12 months to transition the paramedicine profession to national registration under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
AHPRA has appointed Mr Paul Fisher, a highly experienced Executive Officer, formerly supporting the Chiropractic Board of Australia, to provide the secretariat of the new Paramedicine Board of Australia.
The ‘go live’ date for paramedics to be registered under the National Scheme is to be prescribed by regulation. It is expected that this date will be decided in the first half of 2018.
Further information and useful links
Further information on the registration process and useful links:
Last updated 1 November 2017