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    Tsiry Diton

    >a response to a number of high profile cases concerning healthcare quality and patient safety at a number of hospitals

    Were paramedics at the centre of the problems? If not, why this article?

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    Raymond Bange

    Ruth raises this as an important issue in the public interest. Healthcare needs appropriate regulation to ensure public safety as witness the 14 professions currently registered under AHPRA. It’s simply inexplicable that paramedics are not nationally registered.

    I can assure readers that my personal research over many years and work as a consultant to the profession has revealed a number of cases in the public domain including Coronial reports. Together with overseas’ experiences, these are more than sufficient to justify the objectives nominally sought by the Victorian legislation to ensure competency and independent assessment of fitness-to-practice. What is particularly disconcerting is that the overall size of the problem is difficult to determine because of the lack of regulatory transparency – that must change in the public interest!

    Beyond the legal imperatives, healthcare regulation should not be determined as a state issue but be considered as a national matter. Practitioner standards and competencies should not be determined by lines on a map. AHPRA already provides the solution through an established national framework reached as a result of past experience and COAG decisions.

    To prevent misuse of the title and possible misrepresentation of the skills and expertise of the person claiming to be a paramedic (with potentially fatal consequences), a nationally consistent framework of registration is by far the most appropriate mechanism that captures all practice settings across all jurisdictions. This option was the overwhelming choice arising from a comprehensive national consultation process over several years.

    Paramedics perform clinical interventions that carry significant risk and indeed more so than many currently registered health professions. The consultation process highlighted these factors and the lack of data on paramedic services offered by many providers including public and private ambulance services.

    To better understand some of the issues that support registration as the preferred regulatory option you may like to visit the Facebook page on the topic hosted by the Paramedics Australasia professional body available here https://www.facebook.com/ParaRegAU

    My strong view is that Victoria should devote its resources to moving forward with the national registration scheme rather than further fragmenting the healthcare regulatory landscape and increasing the compliance costs that will affect every provider or paramedic operating across different jurisdictions. That separate legislative move will likely stifle innovation and reduce the equity of access to healthcare able to be provided through various forms of community paramedic practice.

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    Russ Hunter

    Anyone know how much of this comes down to ‘politics’ (read: Govt’s ability to screw down Ambo wages and conditions).

    I believe that the (state?) govt refuses to acknowledge Ambos as professionals (which they clearly are) as this would strengthen Ambos’ case to be paid better (as they should be, and are already interstate). Ambo’s are leaving interstate or to regional areas in droves while their management (who come across as government cronies) seem happy to see them churn over despite the likely impact on standards of care and the wellbeing of paramedics.

    Qualifeid Ambos should be treated and paid as professionals and, yes, they should be regulated by AHPRA. It seems like a no-brainer if you want a high quality service which benefits everybody.

    Or the powers that be can keep screwing Ambos and all of us over to save a few bucks.

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