Paramedicine Board of Australia - March 2022

March 2022

Issue 7 – March 2022


From the Chair

Photo of Stephen Gough. Chair, Paramedicine Board of AustraliaOver 20,000 paramedics successfully renewed their registration last year with only a small percentage doing so in the late period between 30 November and 30 December 2021. This is a fantastic result and we congratulate you all. This is the first year that paramedics will be subject to an audit of their renewal declarations, as the Board delayed routine audits because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. See more below.

Our profession now has over 22,500 registered paramedics. Despite the end of grandparenting provisions, the profession is expected to continue growing at a steady rate in 2022. Paramedics who do not have an approved or accepted qualification will now need to have their qualifications assessed against the framework(s) approved by the Board before applying for registration.

The Board acknowledges and applauds the tremendous work being done by paramedics and paramedic students, often under difficult circumstances in the current environment. Please continue to look after yourselves and each other – think about reaching out to someone or help guide colleagues to support services. As always, take care, be safe.

Professor Stephen Gough ASM
Chair, Paramedicine Board of Australia

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Board news

Some important things to remember now that you are a registered paramedic

There are obligations that come with being a registered paramedic. These include:

  • ensuring you renew your registration each year
  • complying with the requirements of the Continuing professional development (CPD) registration standard
  • ensuring that you have adequate professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements in place anytime that you practise the profession
  • ensuring that you have completed the required minimum practice hours within your current scope of practice
  • ensuring that you are safe and competent in any practice you carry out
  • ensuring you meet the ethical and professional expectations of the Paramedicine Board as outlined in the interim Code of conduct, and
  • notifying the Paramedicine Board of certain events as required in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law).

During last year’s renewal a number of declarations were correctly made, but these should have been made much earlier in accordance with the provisions of s130 of the National Law, which requires notification to the Board within seven days if:

  • you are charged for an offence that might be punishable by 12 months or more in prison
  • you have been found guilty/convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment
  • you no longer have PII arrangements in place
  • your right to practise at a hospital or other facility has been withdrawn due to your conduct, performance or health
  • your authority to administer, obtain, possess, prescribe, sell, supply or use a schedule medicine or class of scheduled medicine is cancelled or restricted
  • your registration as a health practitioner in another country is cancelled, restricted or made subject to a condition, or
  • a complaint has been made about you to:
    • (a) the chief executive officer under the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 (Cth)
    • (b) an entity performing functions under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth)
    • (c) the Secretary within the meaning of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth)
    • (d) the Secretary to the Department in which the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) is administered, or
    • (e) another Commonwealth, state or territory entity having functions relating to professional services provided by health practitioners or the regulation of health practitioners.

The National Law also requires you to notify the Board within 30 days if you change your principal place of practice, name or address.

Failure to meet these requirements may result in health, conduct or performance action being taken under Part 8 of the National Law.

There are forms to help you make these declarations when required − see the Registration section of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) website.

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Audit – be ready

All registered paramedics are required to comply with the Board’s registration standards and declare whether they were compliant when renewing their registration. The Board and Ahpra conduct regular audits to assess practitioners’ compliance with the standards. This provides assurance that the requirements of the National Law are understood and that practitioners are compliant.

Practitioners are selected at random for audit. If you are selected for audit you will be contacted in the next few months and advised what standards you will be audited against and specifically, what sort of evidence is required to support the declarations you made at renewal. As a general guide:

 Registration standard What to do if you are selected for audit against this standard
Criminal history registration standard No further action is required unless you are asked to provide more information. Ahpra uses an independent service provider to check domestic criminal history, which will happen automatically at no cost to you.
Continuing professional development registration standard (CPD) You must submit evidence of the CPD activities completed and your reflection on them (e.g. a completed logbook) to meet the requirements of the Board standard relevant to the specified audit period.
Recency of practice registration standard (ROP)  You must submit evidence of how you met the requirements of the Board's ROP standard relevant to the specified audit period.
Professional indemnity insurance arrangements registration standard (PII) You must submit evidence of PII arrangements which meet the requirements of the Board’s PII registration standard.

Making a false declaration or failing to meet the requirements of a registration standard is grounds for the Board to take action under the National Law.

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We have vacancies for community members on the Paramedicine Board

There are vacancies on the Paramedicine Board of Australia for community member positions, open to application from interested persons from any state or territory.

All appointments are made by the Health Council (the Ministerial Council) in line with the National Law.

Ahpra is committed to increasing diversity and social inclusion on National Boards. We encourage applications from people with a disability, people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQA+ people and people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

More information about the roles, eligibility requirements and the application process can be found within the online application on Ahpra’s Board member recruitment page.

If you have questions, please contact Ahpra’s statutory appointments team by email: statutoryappointments@ahpra.gov.au

Applications close on Sunday 20 March at 5:00pm AEST.

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Supervised practice framework now in effect

The Supervised practice framework (the framework), developed by the Paramedicine Board of Australia and 12 other National Boards and Ahpra, is in effect as of 1 February 2022.

The framework outlines the National Boards’ expectations and supports supervisees, supervisors and employers to understand what is necessary to carry out supervised practice effectively. The framework also includes the principles that underpin supervised practice and the levels of supervised practice.

Supervised practice reassures the community that a registered health practitioner whose practice is being supervised is safe and competent.

The framework has been developed to support a responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice and to promote consistency in processes and decision-making across professions.

Supporting information and resources

To support supervisees, supervisors and employers understand and apply the framework, the National Boards and Ahpra have developed a set of frequently asked questions and two key-steps diagrams. The diagrams outline the key steps of supervised practice for registration requirements or suitability and eligibility requirements and for supervised practice following a complaint (notification).

The National Boards have also developed a Fact sheet: Supervised practice – transition arrangements to support the transition arrangements for supervises and supervisors who are already carrying out supervised practice or who sent documents to Ahpra or the Board before 1 February 2022.

The framework and additional information can be found on the Supervised practice page.

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Annual report: Registered health workforce grows with paramedics leading the charge

Continued growth in the registered health workforce is highlighted in the Ahpra and National Boards’ 2020/21 Annual report, published in November 2021.

Key points

  • There were 825,720 registered health practitioners across 16 regulated professions, an increase of 24,061 on last year. This includes 26,595 health practitioners on the 2020 pandemic sub-register, which offers a surge workforce for the health system response to COVID-19.
  • 1 in 16 people employed in Australia is a registered health practitioner.
  • Women make up the largest proportion of health practitioners (75%).
  • The participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across all registered health professions is well short of what is needed.

The largest growth in registrants was paramedics (up 8.3% on 2020). You can read more in the paramedicine annual summary, Paramedicine regulation at work: protecting the public in 2020/21.

The report includes the number of applications for registration, outcomes of practitioner audits and segmentation of the registrant base by gender, age and principal place of practice. Notifications information includes the number of complaints or concerns received, matters opened and closed during the year, types of complaint, monitoring and compliance and matters involving immediate action. Insights into the profession include:

Registration

  • 21,492 paramedics, up 8.3% from 2019/20
  • 2,6% of all registered health practitioners
  • 1.7% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 46.1% female; 53.9% male.

Notifications

  • 215 registered paramedics Australia-wide had notifications made about them
  • 1.0% of the profession
  • the most common types of complaints were about clinical care (21.0%), followed by offence against another law (15.0%), health impairment (10.8%), breach of non-offence provision – National Law (7.8%), behaviour (7.2%), boundary violations (6.6%), communication (4.8%%) and other (26.9%).

For current registration data, see the quarterly reports on the Board’s Statistics page.

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National Scheme news

Changes to notification management in Queensland

In December 2021, Queensland introduced joint consideration of all notifications about health practitioners between Ahpra, the National Boards and the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).

The changes aim to speed up the initial assessment of notifications, which will benefit registered health practitioners and notifiers.

From December, all notifications received by the OHO shared with Ahpra and when they are received. Ahpra and the OHO will review each notification at the same time and agree on which agency should manage the matter.

The changes provide greater opportunity for earlier closure of concerns that do not need a regulatory response.

Mr Martin Fletcher, Ahpra CEO, said that the joint consideration approach would build on the strong relationship between the OHO, Ahpra and National Boards in managing notifications to support access to safe, professional practitioners for Queensland and Australia more broadly.

‘We’re looking forward to working even more closely with the OHO to ensure that notifications about health practitioners are assessed as quickly and consistently as possible,’ Mr Fletcher said.

‘This means a better experience for health practitioners and notifiers.’

Relevant changes to Queensland legislation took effect on 6 December 2021 and all notifications from this date will be subject to joint consideration. For more information on how notifications are managed, see Ahpra's website.

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Latest podcast: Tackling the blame culture to improve patient safety – is it possible?

In the latest episode of Taking care, we explore workplace culture in healthcare through a safety lens. What is the best approach to support a practitioner’s professional practice to ensure patient safety? How do we regulate when honest errors occur in a workplace environment?

It’s so much easier to blame an individual when something goes wrong than to do the hard work to really understand why something happened and put it right. The problem with blame culture is it drives problems underground, say our guests. They acknowledge the challenge in creating workplaces that encourage candour by practitioners and patients, to ensure patient safety.

Read more about the podcast and follow the link to listen.

Ahpra releases a new Taking care episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. Download and listen today. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.

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Have your say: consultation opens for cosmetic surgery review

The public consultation for the Independent review of the regulation of health practitioners in cosmetic surgery is now open.

The review, commissioned by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia, is being led by former Queensland Health Ombudsman Andrew Brown, supported by an expert panel.

The review is particularly interested in understanding whether there are any barriers to consumers, practitioners or their employees raising concerns about unsafe practice or unsatisfactory outcomes. It is also examining how best Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia should manage concerns when they are raised, and what information consumers should be given that may influence informed decision-making.

The consultation paper, including consultation questions, is available on the Independent review page on the Ahpra website.

Practitioners can contribute by emailing their submission, marked 'Submission to the independent review on cosmetic surgery,' to CSReview@ahpra.gov.au.

There is also a survey for consumers to easily share their experiences.

The consultation ends on 14 April 2022.

The Independent Reviewer expects to report his findings by mid-2022.

There is further information, including FAQs, on the review website.

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Want more information?

  • Visit the Board’s website for fact sheets and FAQs that help answer common questions about paramedic registration, and professional standards, codes and guidelines.
  • For employers of paramedics, we have specific information to help you in the Fact sheet: Employer obligations under the National Law.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Professor Stephen Gough ASM, Chair, Paramedicine Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 9/03/2022