Paramedicine Board of Australia - November 2022

November 2022

Issue 9 – November 2022


From the Chair

Stephen Gough

The end of the year is fast approaching and for paramedics and all those involved in providing healthcare to Australian communities, it brings to a close a very busy period. Paramedics have continued to be at the frontline, working flexibly, adapting to changing needs, maintaining a focus on service quality, and continuously demonstrating professionalism in their practice.

On 1 November 2022 we marked five years since paramedics entered the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, joining the 15 other registered health professions in Australia. Importantly, it’s time to renew your registration if you wish to continue to call yourself a paramedic and practise as one in Australia. Renewal is a professional obligation and although reminders are sent out, it is an individual responsibility to renew before 30 November each year. If you do not, your name will be removed from the register and you will have to reapply for registration if you still wish to be a paramedic.

On behalf of the Paramedicine Board, I send you our sincere thanks for contributing to quality healthcare throughout a challenging year and wish you all a very safe and joyous festive season as we look forward to the New Year in 2023.

Professor Stephen Gough ASM
Chair, Paramedicine Board of Australia

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Priority news

Online registration renewal is open – renew now to avoid late fees

Paramedics, you have until 30 November 2022 to renew your general or non-practising registration on time.

We encourage you to renew now to avoid delays during the busy renewal period. Renewing on time also means you’ll avoid late fees which apply after 30 November 2022.

Look out for an email from Ahpra providing access to online renewal.

Read more in the news item.

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Board news

Registration fees

Registration fees fund the work of Ahpra and the Board to keep the public safe by:

  • supporting national registration to ensure only qualified, safe, and professional health practitioners can practise in Australia
  • developing evidence-based and practice-tested standards, codes and guidelines
  • accrediting programs of study that lead to registration and endorsement, and
  • investigating concerns/complaints (notifications) raised about registered health practitioners.

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme) operates on a cost-recovery basis, with each National Board meeting the full costs for the professions they regulate. The Board works closely with Ahpra to keep fees as low as possible while continuing to meet its regulatory obligations and the expectations of the public and practitioners.

In NSW, concerns/complaints (notifications) about NSW paramedics are managed by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), the Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) and the Paramedicine Council of NSW. In line with a 2009 Ministerial policy direction, NSW practitioners are required to meet the same registration and accreditation costs as other practitioners in their profession across Australia, and the NSW-specific cost for notifications complaints relating to performance, health and conduct of practitioners.

The Board has been able to reduce the 2022/23 national registration/renewal fee for paramedics to $240. For NSW registered paramedics the fee is $268. See the news item for more information.

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Professional indemnity insurance – make sure you’re covered!

If you haven’t done it for a while, now might be the time to review your professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements to make sure that you are compliant with the registration standard.

To practise as a paramedic, you must hold appropriate PII – it’s a requirement of the National Law, it’s a requirement of the registration standard, and it’s an important part of keeping the public safe.

Your PII needs to fully cover your practice of the profession, if you are relying on coverage by an employer you need to ensure that you don’t practise outside the scope of that coverage.

Registration renewal is due now and you’ll need to declare you hold PII. Before you make this declaration, the Board suggests you:

  • Check your PII coverage – is it current?
  • Set yourself a reminder for when your policy is due to be renewed.
  • If you’re a graduate, get your PII sorted out before you start practising.
  • If you are working as a volunteer or in an unpaid position you are still required to have appropriate professional indemnity insurance arrangements in place.
  • If you’ve changed your credit card or bank details, or your email address or phone number, check in with your provider to make sure they have your up-to-date details.

What if you find out you’re not appropriately covered?

Note that if you have a gap in PII and fail to notify Ahpra at the time but instead declare the gap later, you will have failed to comply with your obligations under the National Law.

If you are uncertain about the PII you need, seek professional advice from your employer, professional or industrial association, insurance broker or legal advisor.

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Reference group for private sector employers of paramedics

The Board is seeking to establish an employer reference group for private sector employers of paramedics. The purpose of this group is to discuss current and emerging matters related to the registration and regulation of paramedics in this sector.

Terms of reference and an expression of interest will be published on the Board’s website in the coming weeks. In the interim, if you have any questions or if you are an employer and interested in becoming part of this reference group, please contact the Board by email at ParaBA@ahpra.gov.au.

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Students and graduates

Graduates – apply for registration now!

Paramedicine graduates set to complete their course this year can take the first step in their new career by applying for registration now.

Applying before you finish your studies means we can start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website. On that page, you can watch a video, Applying for graduate registration, and print or save the accompanying flyer, Quick guide: how to apply.

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Regulation at work

Former paramedic convicted for practising while suspended

A former paramedic who continued to work at a remote mine site in Queensland after their registration was suspended was sentenced in October after pleading guilty in the Magistrates Court of Queensland.

Despite being suspended, the defendant continued to practise as the only paramedic on a remote mine site in Queensland, completing 24 shifts over the next 6 weeks. At no time did they notify their employer that their registration had been suspended. Further, they lied to Ahpra by advising they were unemployed.

The practitioner was sentenced in the Cairns Magistrates’ Court. The magistrate imposed a fine of $5,000, with no conviction recorded. The defendant was also ordered to pay Ahpra’s legal costs of $2,357.

This was the first prosecution for the paramedicine profession since it joined the National Scheme on 1 December 2018.

Read more in the news item.

Paramedic's registration cancelled, banned after lying about inappropriate relationship with patient

A paramedic has had his registration cancelled and been banned from providing health services of any kind for two years.

The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Mr Robert Wayne Bevan took advantage of his position as a paramedic to pursue and foster an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female patient he had transported for treatment, despite knowing the patient was vulnerable, which amounted to serious professional misconduct.

It found Mr Bevan showed little insight into his misconduct and sought to minimise his wrongdoing by giving false information to Ahpra and persisting in his account over a significant period, including by stating that the patient had initiated the relationship and that it only began after he resigned from his job.

Read more in the news item.

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Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board has released its quarterly registration report to 30 June 2022. At this date, there were 23,053 registered paramedics: 22,584 with general registration and 469 with non-practising registration.

For more information, including registration by principal place of practice, gender and age group, visit our Statistics page.

Extension of temporary acceptance of additional English language tests for registration applicants

National Boards are accepting the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition test for applications received until 21 February 2023.

COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have disrupted many English language tests and made it difficult for some applicants to use the English language test pathway to meet National Boards’ English language skills registration standards.

In response, earlier this year the National Boards established a temporary policy accepting the following additional language tests for a limited time:

  • the OET computer-based test and the OET@home test for applications received until 21 February 2023, and
  • the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition for applications received until 1 June 2022.

National Boards have now updated this temporary policy which means that, along with the OET computer based and OET@home tests, the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition will also be accepted, for applications received until 21 February 2023.

All other requirements set out in the National Board’s English language skills registration standard still apply. There are no changes to any other requirements in the standards, including minimum test scores.

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What's new?

Landmark public protection reform bill passes into law

The widest-ranging reform to health practitioner regulation since the National Scheme was established in 2010, has now passed into law.

While some of the changes have already come into place, the majority have a delayed start, allowing Ahpra and the National Boards time to implement the reforms.

Some of the significant changes that have already started include a new paramount principle that puts public safety at the centre of regulatory decision-making and a new guiding principle and objective that embeds cultural safety into the National Law.

Next year will see new powers to strengthen public protection while maintaining fairness for practitioners come into effect. These reforms include:

  • a new power to issue interim prohibition orders against unregistered practitioners, which means Ahpra and National Boards can stop significant harm occurring while the most serious matters are investigated, and
  • the power to issue public statements to warn the public about serious risks posed by people, including registered practitioners, who are the subject of investigations or disciplinary proceedings.

More information

Read more in the news item.

Resources including an information guide and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the National Law amendments page on the Ahpra website.

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Cosmetic surgery complaints line and resources hub launched

Ahpra is committed to making cosmetic surgery safer. Patients who have been harmed by cosmetic surgery can now report their concerns to a hotline. Practitioners who are aware of unsafe cosmetic surgery practices are also encouraged to call.

Key points

  • Our Cosmetic Surgery Hotline – 1300 361 041 – is a new service for cosmetic surgery patients and concerned practitioners to tell us about their bad experiences. If we know about it, we can investigate it. This specialised notifications team is here to listen Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm AEDT. Concerns can also be lodged confidentially.
  • We have also set up an online Cosmetic surgery hub that gathers helpful resources for practitioners and the public in one place.

The hotline and hub are part of the response by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia to the Independent review into the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.

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Using data to protect the public – have your say on Ahpra’s draft Data strategy

Ahpra holds, publishes and shares data about all registered health practitioners in Australia, including through the public register of health practitioners.

Public consultation on a draft Data strategy is now open. Ahpra is inviting feedback from health practitioners on the future uses of the data we collect and hold, including about three focus areas:

  • the public register of health practitioners
  • data sharing
  • advanced analytics.

We want to know what you think about including additional information about you and your practice on the public register. We’re also seeking your views on publishing practitioners’ disciplinary history on the public register.

We’re interested in sharing some of the data we hold (where legally allowed and while protecting privacy and confidentiality) to help protect the public, improve access to health services and contribute to patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We want to hear from you about how we can share, or receive, data to benefit health practitioners and the public.

In addition, we’re consulting on using new data technologies ethically and safely to help make our regulatory work more efficient and effective and streamline practitioners’ interactions with us.

The consultation is open until 31 January 2023. We encourage you to have your say on how we use and share the data we hold about you, where lawful, to protect the public.

To learn more or to make a submission, read the consultation paper and information for practitioners on the Ahpra website.

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Latest podcasts – listen up!

Our Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. We also publish transcripts of our podcasts. Recent episodes include:

  • the inextricable link between climate change and healthcare
  • the unique world of rural and remote healthcare
  • safe healthcare for homeless people
  • what to do when cost is a barrier to safe healthcare.

Listen and subscribe by searching for Taking care in your podcast player (for example Apple Podcasts or Spotify), or listen on our website.

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National Scheme news

Click on the image below to read the National Scheme newsletter. Our next issue is coming in December, and you can subscribe on the newsletter page.

 

National Scheme news banner graphic


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 25/11/2022