• 22nd Aug 2019

The future of paramedic representation in Australasia #3

The Australian & New Zealand College of Paramedicine (ANZCP) and Paramedics Australasia (PA) have been buoyed by the positive feedback received over the past month from members and a range of stakeholders in the sector since announcing our proposed merger. It is evident that there is significant support for a single paramedicine professional association in Australasia. We have had several enquiries from members about how we reached this strategic decision and what the proposed Australasian College of Paramedicine (ACP) will look like. As well as what services the new entity will deliver, we will address these enquiries over the next two communiqués. We would initially like to identify the journey we have undertaken to date, and in the following communiqué overview the proposed organisational and board structures of the ACP.

The journey so far

Marty Nichols and Peter Jurkovsky had several conversations in late 2017 and early 2018 about the future of both organisations and considered whether a merger could be an option. This moved slowly throughout 2018 and culminated in late 2018 when a working group was formed from members of each organisation’s board (as well as key members) to identify if there were any insurmountable barriers to a merger. After this initial positive meeting the working group agreed to meet each month until mid-2019, working through a range of phases that included discussing a constitution, an organisation name, financial due diligence and organisational structure.

During this process, various Board Directors were involved, with some attending meetings where their expertise was required (i.e. treasurer involvement with financial due diligence, legal professionals during discussions on legal procedure and the constitution, etc.), with the leader of each board (Peter Jurkovsky and Marty Nichols), as well as senior staff members (John Bruning, ANZCP General Manager andRobyn Smith, PA CEO) being actively involved at all stages.

The working group identified many advantages to a merger (as discussed in communiqué 2) as well as the presence of similar organisation objects, constitutions and member services. This led to both Boards being prepared to announce the proposed merger in July 2019. During this process the services of a legal firm with extensive experience in not-for-profit mergers (Mills Oakley) has been engaged to assist in navigating us through the process.

What are the next steps?

As member-based organisations, the Constitutions of both ANZCP and PA require the merger to be approved by members at a general meeting. As such, we are anticipating holding Extraordinary General Meetings in October where this motion can be considered and voted on by members. We will continue to inform members over the coming months on what the ACP will look like, how it will function, and who will lead it into this exciting next step for paramedicine professional associations in Australasia. If the motions are accepted by the members at the Extraordinary General Meetings, we are hoping for the ACP to formally commence in January 2020. At that time the membership of ANZCP and PA will be transferred to the ACP. To fully prepare for this, we will be formally establishing the ‘Australasian College of Paramedicine’ as a legal entity in the next few weeks.

What do our members say?

I strongly support the merger of ANZCP and PA. They both present a very similar ideal and there can only be greater strength in numbers. A combined body will be able to straddle the gap between member states as well as NZ, fostering a non service specific agenda. They can provide support separate to ambulance services and link with APRHA. Streamline the CPD responsibilities through events, seminars and conferences. Great idea.

Greater unity, wider scope, representing more paramedics via one voice.

First of all, I want to congratulate both management sides of ANZCP and PA for proposing this merger. I agree this is the best path to follow. Throughout my time I have seen both sides establish themselves and form a strong identity with their members. No doubt the unification will prove successful and provide operational and academic members alike a strong educational support platform to refer to.

What do our paramedicine leaders say?

“Achieving a single national strong voice for the development of the profession is a significant missing piece of the puzzle in taking it forward. The goodwill and recognition of both PA and ANZCP to achieve this important goal is to be applauded."

Dr Dominic Morgan – CEO NSW Ambulance

“I was delighted to see the announcement in July that the entities were progressing towards a merger. This has been for many years the desired objective of members, representatives, and the wider community who engage with both groups for advice on similar issues. Paramedicine is not large as a profession, and to have the professional association functions delivered by two groups who have common roots and clearly aligned aims, goal, and objectives has reduced the impact of the capacity of both parties, and the profession as a whole.”

Alan Eade - Chief Paramedic Officer, Safer Care Victoria

We invite you to have your say

In the next communiqué we will outline the proposed organisational structure for the ACP and the composition of the initial Australasian College of Paramedicine Board as well as the future election process.

Rest assured that there is no plan for the ACP to reduce any service delivery that ANZCP or PA currently provide to their members. On the contrary, we expect to expand our advocacy, representation, CPD and conference offerings in 2020 and beyond.

We want to hear more from our members. Please email or call us to discuss any questions you may have or to express your views and provide feedback. Contact us via merger@anzcp.org.au or call the College General Manager, John Bruning, on 0419 419 085 to provide feedback

Yours sincerely

Marty Nichols
Australian & New Zealand College of Paramedicine

Peter Jurkovsky
Paramedics Australasia

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