Download a PDF copy of the Fact sheet: Employer obligations under the National Law (85.3 KB,PDF)
On 1 December 2018, paramedicine becomes a regulated profession under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) and the title ‘paramedic’ and ‘paramedicine’ will become protected by law (s113). Only people registered with the Paramedicine Board of Australia (the Board) will be able to lawfully call themselves a paramedic1. From this date it will also be an offence for employers to employ people as a ‘paramedic’ or otherwise hold someone out as a ‘paramedic’ who are not registered with the Board (s116).
Title protection is an important way the National Law protects the public. It ensures that only people who are suitably trained and qualified to practise the profession, and who have met national standards for registration, are able to call themselves a paramedic.
Section 113 also requires that, for an offence to have occurred under the National Law, the title must be used in a way that could be reasonably expected to induce a belief that a person is registered in the paramedicine profession.
Additionally, a person is prohibited from using any title, name, initial, symbol, word or description that in the circumstances could reasonably be understood that a person is a registered paramedic when they are not. Additionally, employers must not claim another person is registered as a paramedic when they are not (s116).
Use of the title ‘paramedic’ in a business name and/or associated insignia (such as on a vehicle) alone is unlikely to amount to a breach of the National Law. However, businesses, educators or organisations providing paramedicine services such as jurisdictional ambulance services, paramedic services, health services and private industries will need to ensure that anyone employed or carrying out the duties of a ‘paramedic’ is suitably qualified, trained and registered with the Board.
For example, a business name with the word ‘paramedic’ in it, may provide non-emergency patient transport to both public and private hospitals, diagnostic facilities and private individuals. While the use of the title ‘paramedic’ in a business name located on the side of a vehicle may not be a breach of the National Law, it is important to ensure that persons who are not registered with the Board in such a vehicle do not hold themselves out as being registered when attending those sites, and that those who are employed as, and carrying out the duties of a paramedic are suitably qualified, trained and registered with the Board.
Clear labelling on uniforms (for example uniform branding with the words ‘Ambulance Officer’, Driver’ or ‘Emergency care personnel’ instead of ‘Paramedic’) along with clear communication by employers and employees, can all help to ensure the public is not confused in these types of circumstances.
Penalties for breaches of the National law in relation to these provisions range from up to $30,000 per offence for individuals and $60,000 per offence in the case of corporate entities.
Visit the Paramedicine Board of Australia’s website or read the Fact Sheet: What is a registered paramedic.
1 There are temporary exemptions for those who have applied for registration prior to 1 December 2018 until their application is decided or who are eligible for the limited period of exemption that applies until 28 February 2019.