Over 120 people attended the Paramedic National Registration Symposium held in SA on 7th March, 2012!

With a majority of SAAS paramedics, there were also private sector paramedics, defence force medics, paramedic academics and many student paramedics. This was far greater turnout than was expected and demonstrates the professionalism of paramedics and their willingness to shape the evolution of the paramedic profession.

The speakers provided an excellent overview of paramedic registration and included:

Ray Bange (Paramedics Australasia): Ray’s presentation included the history, need and current status of the paramedic registration campaign.

Phil Palmer (Ambulance Employees Association of SA): Phil gave a short lively presentation on what being a true professional means, including attempting to define the expected behaviours of a registered professional in the broader context (including the need to engage further in research).

Jim Arneman (National Council of Ambulance Unions): Jim provided an overview of NCAU’s rationale for supporting paramedic registration and showed their support for PA’s registration agenda.

Melanie O’Donnell (SAAS ICP): Mel gave an excellent overview of her own personal experiences during the introduction of paramedic registration in the UK and what it was like to subsequently work as a clinician and manager of paramedics in a registered system. This proved to be an invaluable part
of the evening and really drove home for a number of the audience the practical realities of what registration
may mean in terms of their day to day practice and responsibilities as a professional practitioner.

Keith Driscoll (SAAS Executive Director): Keith gave his support to this event and made himself available to answer practical implementation questions on behalf of SAAS.

The symposium proved to be a very successful event and has sent out a group of better informed practitioners who can now act as change agents to help mobilise the rest of the paramedic workforce to engage in this important topic.

Perhaps most importantly, the symposium gained media attention where the South Australian Health Minister John Hill was quoted as saying he “would strongly support a national registration scheme” and that “paramedics are a distinct professional group with a very important role in our health service and they deserve the same recognition as other health professionals“. Good call Minister!

The next step is for paramedics to take part in all consultation activities when they soon become available, so practitioners decide what paramedic registration will look like – not outsiders.

Thanks to the voluntary efforts of the PA committee members, SAAS, the AEA, the speakers, and attendees who made the evening such a huge success.

The evening was taped and will be made available to PA members online soon.