The journey towards the registration of paramedics under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health professionals has been a long one. Another big step was taken towards this goal when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council met in Canberra last week.
At the COAG Health Council meeting the State and Territory Health Ministers agreed to proceed with the legislative amendments that are required to bring paramedics into the NRAS alongside the 14 other registered health professions. The Ministers were finally all happy that the issues that had previously required further attention, such as the scope of the paramedic workforce and recognition of vocational and tertiary pathways, had been satisfactorily addressed to their collective requirements.
As far as the College is concerned, the best news in the COAG communique was that since all Ministers agreed that paramedics will be registered in all jurisdictions, that an ‘opt-in’ mechanism would not be required. This is a significant development making the NRAS truly national, and not just covering States that opted in to the scheme. As the College and COAG have previously reported, NSW had previously reserved its right to participate which had the potential to undermine the strength of the scheme. The College and others have worked very hard to convince the NSW Government to participate fully and thankfully this has resulted in this development. We await the drafting of the legislation to learn the details of the final result.
What does this mean: The legislative amendments will be introduced across Australian jurisdictions in 2017. The working groups report that they are on track for the register of paramedics to be in place for a commencement in late 2018.
The whole COAG communique can be viewed here (Paramedics page 4 of PDF):
This development may lead to a number of questions from paramedics. If you have questions about registration, we would like to draw your attention to our Registration Q&A section on our website.
This page also contains an area where you can ask further questions of the College, for which we will endeavour to answer for you, keeping in mind some details are yet to be known.
This development is the culmination of many years of work by a dedicated team and brings paramedics one step closer to the professional recognition that we have earnt and deserved since the latter half of the last century.