16 Apr 2020
The Paramedicine Board of Australia (the Board) has been working with Ahpra and the other National Boards on a range of initiatives to help support Australia’s registered paramedics to continue to provide care to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Board has already started making decisions, on a case by case basis, that temporarily modify the usual regulatory requirements and approaches, while maintaining public safety, to support more paramedics becoming registered in shorter timeframes.
Paramedicine has only been a regulated health profession for 16 months and this combined with the complexity and unique nature of paramedicine practice has meant that the Board needed to look at individualised ways to build surge capacity in the paramedicine workforce.
The following groups have been identified as important contributors to increasing the paramedic workforce.
Registered practitioners not working in clinical roles
The Board highlights the ethical and professional obligation all paramedics have to ensure that they are safe and competent in any practice they carry out, in addition to the requirements in the Paramedicine Board’s Recency of Practice Registration Standard.
The Board encourages registered paramedics not working in clinical roles to review these requirements and consider whether they could safely move into a clinical role if required during the COVID-19 pandemic. This may involve discussion with their employer and doing extra training as set out in the Recency of Practice Registration Standard. If the Board needs to consider the ways an individual can safely return to practice, particularly if they are moving from a non-clinical role to a clinical role, the Board will consider more flexible conditions than usual, provided it is safe and appropriate to do so.
People yet to apply for registration as a paramedic
The Board is aware that there are many people who are qualified and suitable for registration as a paramedic, but who have not yet applied for registration for various reasons. The Board encourages people who are qualified and suitable for registration as a paramedic to consider applying for registration as soon as possible.
Recently retired or non-practicing registrants
Some paramedics registered once, and either chose not to renew their registration in November 2019 or chose to seek non-practicing registration. The Board encourages practitioners who are willing, able, safe and competent to practise clinically, to consider reapplying for general registration to support their colleagues and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Board calls on all paramedics to support each other and work together to ensure the safe delivery of health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that paramedics care for themselves and colleagues as well as patients. In providing care, paramedics should ensure the effective use of personal protective equipment and follow relevant infection control requirements and public health advice to ensure your safety when practising.
If you know or suspect you are infected, you should follow current public health advice including self-isolating. If you have pre-existing health conditions that increase your risk of infection, you should manage this by discussing it with your colleagues, employer or place of work.