A COAG meeting in Darwin today saw the proposal to include paramedics in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme delayed yet again.
The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health practitioners protects the public by ensuring that only suitably trained and qualified practitioners deliver healthcare services to the public for which they are registered.
Professions currently regulated under the NRAS are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice, Chinese medicine, chiropractic, dental practice, medicine, medical radiation practice, nursing and midwifery, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and psychology.
The Scheme commenced on 1 July 2010. Five years on, and paramedics are still not included in the Scheme.
By being included in the NRAS, the title of 'paramedic' would be protected which means that no one can call themselves a paramedic without being trained and qualified to do so. This is crucial to the safety of all Australians.
Inclusion of paramedics in the NRAS would also recognise the high level of training and education our paramedics undertake and the vital services they provide to the public.
Labor has long called for paramedics to be included in the NRAS, however some other jurisdictions remain reluctant.
It was agreed at the COAG meeting today that more work will be undertaken to try to achieve multi-lateral agreement whereby willing states and territories can include paramedics in a registration and accreditation scheme.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy also raised Victoria’s ongoing concerns about federal funding cuts to health at today’s meeting.
The Abbott Government's decision to walk away from the National Health Reform Agreement will see $17.7 billion cut from Victoria's public hospitals over the next decade. If these cuts proceed, Victorians will be forced to wait even longer for treatment in emergency departments and on elective surgery waiting lists.
With a growing and ageing population, there is increasing pressure on our hospitals and community health services, so it’s vital that governments at all levels work together to find ways to improve efficiency, services and guarantee the future of our health system.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“I’m disappointed that agreement wasn’t able to be reached on this issue. This debate has been going on for five years. It's now time for real progress."
“Just like other professions regulated under NRAS, paramedics administer health care and treatment and so they should be included in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. It’s crucial for patient safety, as well as recognising the high skills and training of our paramedics.”
“The Andrews Labor Government will continue to advocate for national health reform – both in terms of funding and models of care – so that all Victorians can get the best health care and treatment they need and deserve.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020