St John welcome paramedic registration

File photo.

New Zealand paramedics will now be registered under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003).

A move that is being welcomed by St John.

The new regulation brings New Zealand in line with other countries such as Australia and Great Britain, where registration is compulsory to practice as a paramedic.

St John Medical Director Dr Tony Smith says registration gives about 1000 paramedics and intensive care paramedics practicing in New Zealand a similar professional platform to other health sector groups, such as nurses and doctors.

St John views registration of paramedics as an extension of its already robust professional, safety, clinical and audit standards.

Tony says paramedics in New Zealand are already highly regulated; they are required to hold a relevant qualification and meet strict internal safety, quality and audit standards, while adhering to St John’s obligations with the Ministry of Health.

“While professional registration adds an additional layer of protection for patients, the public can be assured that their trust in the expertise, professional and safety standards of St John clinical care is well placed.”

“Registration recognises the important role of paramedics in the health sector and the skill level of our clinicians. It protects the profession from others calling themselves registered paramedics without the qualification, training and clinical hours, ensuring fit and proper personnel are involved in the delivery of patient care.”

The 3000 frontline volunteers involved in ambulance activities who practice at Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Assistant or First Responder level are not required to be registered at this time.

A paramedic council will be established to regulate national registration commencing in January 2020.

Health Minister David Clark says paramedic leaders have been pushing for this formal recognition of their status for years.

“Paramedics are usually the first on the scene when we suffer a medical emergency and they do great work saving thousands of lives each year.

“These long overdue changes will ensure the high professional standard to which they currently work will be maintained and enhanced into the future.

“Like doctors, and nurses, paramedics provide key life preserving services. They act independently in assessing, treating, transporting and referring patients.”

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