FAQ - webinar on registration standards

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General

 

We are waiting to be formally advised by the government about the date on which paramedics are required to be registered (participation day). We anticipate that it will be late this year and we will begin receiving and approving applications for registration a couple of months prior to that date.

You will be able to complete the registration process, including payment, on the AHPRA website and dates will be announced on the Board’s website as soon as they are known.

Applicants will receive an email from AHPRA to advise that their application has been received and payment accepted. However, this is not evidence of a successful registration. AHPRA may contact individual applicants to advise that their application was incomplete and more information is required.

Successfully registered paramedics will receive a certificate of registration and from participation day, their registration details will be displayed on the Public Register.

The registration process is described in detail on the AHPRA website.

Paramedics will be required to pay a one-off application fee to cover the costs associated with processing their application, in addition to paying the yearly registration fee.

The application for registration under the National Scheme is made by the individual, not an organisation. The onus is on the individual practitioner to ensure they are registered prior to participation day.

Once the registration starting date is known, the Board will publish what information you will need to provide to apply for registration.

However, you may want to ensure you have copies of your academic transcripts and other qualifications, and evidence of your practice history, including any supervised practice. You will also need to satisfy the online proof of identity requirements.

You will need to apply for an international criminal history check (ICHC) if you will be declaring an international criminal history on your application form and/or have lived, or been primarily based, in any country other than Australia for six consecutive months or more when aged 18 years or over.

More information on the ICHC process can be found on the AHPRA website. As ICHCs are only valid for three months from the date of issue, please don’t apply for an ICHC until the Board advises the date that registration will start.

 

At this stage, the application and registration fees have not been decided. The fees will be published on the Board’s website as soon as they are known.

The National Law has arrangements in place to cover the use of the title ‘paramedic’ and practice as a paramedic in certain circumstances while an application for registration is being considered.

Under these arrangements, if you submit an application for registration before participation day you may use the title paramedic and continue to practice as a paramedic while your application is being decided.

If your application is not submitted, or is withdrawn or refused, the use of the title ‘paramedic’ or to hold yourself out as a paramedic will be considered an offence in contravention of the title and practice provisions of the National Law.

 

The National Law provides for different categories of registration but not different levels of registration. General, non-practising and various types of limited registration are available under the National Law.

Registration of paramedics is separate and distinct from any employer-based credentialing that may take place in the paramedicine profession. Any person registered as a paramedic under the National Law after the start of paramedic regulation, is entitled to call themselves a paramedic and practice as a paramedic.

If an ambulance officer is suitably qualified and suitable they may be eligible for registration as a paramedic. Ambulance officers are not required to be registered provided they don’t call or hold themselves out to be a paramedic.

If a volunteer ambulance officer is suitably qualified and suitable they may be eligible for registration as a paramedic. They are not required to be registered provided they don’t call or hold themselves out to be a paramedic.

Expect for a few restricted practice activities, the National Law does not define the scope of practice. Under the National Law, a practitioner’s individual scope of practice is informed by that practitioner’s skills, training and experience.

Noting the broad definition, practice means any activities you do using your skills, knowledge and abilities as a paramedic that impact on the safe, effective delivery of services in the profession. These activities may be in a clinical or non-clinical context. So it is possible to be practising in a management or administrative role.

It possible to obtain and maintain registration if you are not doing any practice relevant to the profession, provided you have done sufficient practice in the past to satisfy the Recency of practice registration standard. 

The National Law only protects the titles paramedic and paramedicine. Using another title might not be a breach of the law provided you don’t in any other way hold yourself out to be a paramedic.

 

Graduate and student registration

Students who will be due to complete an approved or accepted program of study in paramedicine in 2018 can apply for registration four to six weeks before completing their course. However, as this is likely to be a similar timeframe to participation day, the timing of graduate applications will be announced on the Board website.

Information on the graduate application process can be found on the AHPRA website.

Students who are enrolled in an approved or accepted program of study must be registered as a student with the Paramedicine Board. However, you do not need to apply for registration as it is the responsibility of the education provider to ensure you are registered with AHPRA. There are no fees for student registration.

Information on student registration can be found on the AHPRA website.

 

English Language skills

The proposed English language skills registration standard lists several ways that a paramedic applying for initial registration can demonstrate English language competency. Completing a (three year) tertiary qualification in Australia is not sufficient on its own but must be accompanied by other training in the profession, ELS tests or primary and secondary education in one of the recognised countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, UK and USA).

Provided the test undertaken satisfies all of the requirements set out in the English language skills registration standard it can be used.

 

Criminal History

You must declare all charges and convictions when you apply for registration. The Board sets out the process it will follow when considering criminal history matters in the standard. Each application needs to be considered on its own merits against the criteria outlined in the standard.

If you are applying for registration and you declare a criminal history outside Australia, and/or have lived, or been primarily based in one or more countries other than Australia for six consecutive months or longer, when aged 18 years or more, you must apply for an international criminal history check via one of the AHPRA approved vendors before you put your application in.

AHPRA is required to do a new criminal history check on all applicants, so past checks can’t be used. The cost of AHPRA completing a domestic (Australian) criminal history check is included in your application fee, but an ICHC must be paid for by the applicant.

More information on the ICHC process can be found on the AHPRA website. As ICHCs are only valid for three months from the date of issue, please don’t apply for an ICHC until the Board advises the date that registration will begin.

 

Professional indemnity insurance arrangements

Run-off cover is defined in the Professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements registration standard and is insurance that protects you when you have ceased practice against claims that arise out of, or are a consequence of your activities when you were in practice. This type of cover may be included in a PII policy or may need to be purchased separately. You will need to check your policy if you are privately insured, or the policy of your employer or volunteer organization.

Under the requirements of the proposed standard, which is the same as the one that applies to the other health professions, each practitioner is required to ensure that they have adequate PII coverage for any practice they do. This is so that, should anything go wrong, members of the public are protected by being able to claim via insurance. For example if something went wrong and a patient then had to spend a long time off work, and incur significant medical expenses as a result, they would be able to make a claim.

The Board can’t offer legal or insurance advice and insurance policies as well as individual circumstances vary greatly, so it’s best if you first start by finding out what coverage is provided by your employer and then seeking advice about what additional cover, if any, you may require. Insurers and perhaps professional bodies and employers are a good starting point to find out what you need.

 

It’s your responsibility to ensure that you have appropriate indemnity coverage for any practice you do.

The contents of individual indemnity insurance policies and legal requirements vary widely from employer to employer and state to state and the Board cannot provide advice about these issues. So it is up to you as an individual practitioner to ensure you are appropriately covered for whatever you do. We suggest that employers and professional associations may be better placed to give appropriate advice on this issue relevant to the jurisdiction and profession you are working in.

 

Continuing professional development

Provided it satisfies what is required in the CPD registration standard and you keep adequate records of your plan, reflections and so on in your portfolio, you can rely on practice and CPD done in the UK.

The CPD requirements of the proposed registration standard are very broad. There is a wide variety of online and distance education available to practitioners in remote and isolated locations. This can range from teleconferences with professional colleagues to reading hardcopy or online journals through to formal education programs.

The Board does acknowledge that in exceptional circumstances a paramedic may be deployed in an extremely remote or isolated area or overseas location that may affect their ability to do the required CPD. In such cases you can apply for a variation of the CPD requirements for that period. Each application will be considered on its individual merits.

The registration standards that were out for public consultation are not finalised and are still to be approved by the Board before they are sent to Health Ministers for final approval.

Any CPD activity that meets the criteria set out in the standard and guidelines is acceptable.

The guidelines for CPD provide an indicative list of a range of types of activities that could be considered, but it doesn’t list or approve actual CPD activities.

Anyone can provide CPD and practitioners are free to do that activity provided it meets the criteria set out in the standards. It is not the responsibility of the Board to accredit CPD programs or activities and there will not be a list of programs provided. Practitioners will be subject to a CPD audit where you are required to provide evidence of the CPD activities you have undertaken to meet the requirements of the Board’s standard.

Yes. A CPD portfolio template will be developed to provide you with further guidance on recording CPD activities and your reflections on how you have changed your practice as a result. You should also liaise with your professional associations.

 

Recency of practice

When you take a break from practice, depending on the specific circumstances this may or may not mean you meet the requirements of the Recency of practice registration standard. If you do not immediately meet the requirements of the standards you will need to engage with the Board to determine the best way for you to safely return to practice. What this means will depend on a number of factors including your experience, and the role you are proposing to do.

  • Must recency of practice be on-road time only? What about working on oil-rigs, army medics, working as a volunteer, research, teaching or management?
  • Do paramedics who are in management roles with minimal patient time need to get out of the office to ensure they are achieving the required practice hours?
  • I am a paramedic who has progressed in their career and is now working in a control room; will I satisfy the recency requirements?
  • Will the work that a full-time University paramedic lecturer teaching clinical subjects do count as recency of practice?

Noting the broad definition, practice means any activities you do using your skills, knowledge and abilities as a paramedic that impact on the safe, effective delivery of services in the profession. These activities may be in a clinical or non-clinical context. So it is possible to be practising in a management, administrative or academic role.

It is possible to obtain and maintain registration if you are not doing any practice relevant to the definition of practice, provided you have done sufficient practice in the past to satisfy the Recency of practice registration standard.

 

 

Qualifications and grandparenting arrangements

Any paramedic who is adequately qualified and a suitable person is eligible to be registered as a paramedic in Australia. Whether a registered paramedic can work in Australia may be a visa issue and beyond the jurisdiction of the Board.

The Board can offer a category of registration called limited registration. This may be obtained by paramedics who do not qualify for general registration. In other professions this category is commonly used by overseas-trained practitioners who are seeking to practise in Australia for special events, seminars, natural disasters or to teach or do research.

Until registration standards for limited registration for paramedics are developed and approved by Health Ministers, appropriately qualified overseas-trained practitioners will be eligible to apply through the grandparenting arrangements.

The only way to find out if you are eligible for registration is to make an application. The online application will ask you questions and guide you through the process. You should read the material on the Board’s website, particularly in relation to grandparenting, to ensure that you are able to provide the required information to support your application. More detailed information will be available once the registration standards are approved by Health Ministers.

  • The National Law provides several options for the Board to recognise qualifications for registration purposes. Holding an ‘approved qualification’ following completion of an ‘approved program’ is one of several pathways for individuals to qualify for general registration as a paramedic in Australia.
  • The National Law usually requires programs to be accredited under the National Law before the Board approves them. Because there is not currently any accreditation for paramedicine programs under the National Law, this would mean no paramedicine program could be approved. To avoid this, for the first three years the Health Ministers have provided the Board with the option of reviewing CAA’s accreditation reports to decide whether it will approve a CAA accredited program.
  • The National Law also specifies that the NSW ambulance service diploma is an ‘accepted qualification’.
  • The Board will also use the other options available under the National Law to recognise qualifications held by graduates of programs that are not accredited by the CAA. Under these options, the Board will assess whether these qualifications are ‘adequate qualifications’ under the grandparenting provisions. This adequate qualification option exists only for the first three years after registration of paramedics first takes effect and, subject to the Board’s assessment that a qualification is adequate, it allows graduates of other paramedicine programs to qualify for general registration in the same way as graduates who hold ‘approved qualifications’ or ‘accepted qualifications’.

Accreditation for practitioner regulation purposes does not supersede education regulation ‒ ASQA’s role is to provide education provider registration under other laws. Accreditation under the National Law is separate and will not duplicate what ASQA or TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) do. Education providers must continue to be registered with TEQSA or ASQA – that is a separate regulation system for education.

It is not a role of the Board to regulate training. The Board’s role is to regulate paramedics and the National Law requires the Board to protect the public by ensuring only individuals who are suitably trained and qualified to practise paramedicine in a competent and ethical manner are registered.

Once the Board has assigned its accreditation functions under the National Law, and approved accreditation standards, any provider running a program that meets the accreditation requirements will be eligible to apply for accreditation under that system.

Once the National Board has assigned the accreditation functions under the National Law to an accreditation body and accreditation standards for the profession of paramedicine are developed and approved by the Board, all programs will have to meet the requirements of those standards. As the standards are yet to be determined we can’t talk about the hours involved, but all approved programs will have to satisfy the same standards whatever they end up being.

The registration pathways for practitioners who do not have an approved or accepted qualification are prescribed in the Grandparenting registration standard. There are three pathways identified in the grandparenting standard and the provisions of this standard apply for a period of three years only, so we encourage anybody who wants to become a registered paramedic and who doesn't hold one of the accepted or approved qualifications to apply for registration as soon as registration starts.

Because the accreditation standards for the profession are yet to be developed and approved by the Board it is impossible to say what sort of qualification will be acceptable for registration as a paramedic in the future. The registration pathways for practitioners who do not have an approved or accepted qualification are prescribed in the Grandparenting registration standard, which will apply for a period of three years.

What we can say is that once accreditation standards are developed and in place, all programs will have to meet the same accreditation standards if they wish to be approved programs for the purposes of registration as a paramedic.

A registered paramedic can practise anywhere in Australia.

Once you are registered, you don’t need to qualify for registration again. So if you qualify for paramedic registration through grandparenting arrangements within the three-year period, you do not need to get a degree to satisfy any new accreditation arrangements in the future. You do, however, need to satisfy the five registration standards to renew your registration every year.

 

Complaints and notifications

Once regulation has started (from participation day in late 2018), anyone who has concerns about the health, ethical or professional conduct or performance of a paramedic may make a notification about that person. If there are sufficient grounds to raise a concern that the practitioners’ conduct and or performance is not to standard then the matter will be investigated by the Board.

 

Dual registration

For those registered as nurses will any CPD or recency of practice hours apply to both professions or will they be treated separately?

As long as you satisfy the eligibility requirements for paramedicine you are able to be registered as a paramedic. This applies to all registration standards such as recency of practice, English language skills and CPD. You will need to pay the application fee for paramedicine and the annual registration fees for both professions. You will also need to continue to satisfy the registration standards for both professions to retain your annual registration.

 
 
 
Page reviewed 7/03/2018