The national law and paramedics

What is the ‘National Law’ we now practise under? The long title is the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, which is in place in each Australian state and territory under a special hosting arrangement based in Queensland. It is important that all paramedics are aware of the legislation’s objectives and guiding principles with a particular emphasis being placed on the overriding tenet of public protection. The objectives of the law are:

(a) to provide for the protection of the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered; and

(b) to facilitate workforce mobility across Australia by reducing the administrative burden for health practitioners wishing to move between participating jurisdictions or to practise in more than one participating jurisdiction; and

(c) to facilitate the provision of high quality education and training of health practitioners; and

(d) to facilitate the rigorous and responsive assessment of overseas-trained health practitioners; and

(e) to facilitate access to services provided by health practitioners in accordance with the public interest; and

(f) to enable the continuous development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable Australian health workforce and to enable innovation in the education of, and service delivery by, health practitioners.

The guiding principles of the law are:

(a) the scheme is to operate in a transparent, accountable, efficient, effective and fair way;

(b) fees required to be paid under the scheme are to be reasonable having regard to the efficient and effective operation of the scheme;

(c) restrictions on the practice of a health profession are to be imposed under the scheme only if it is necessary to ensure health services are provided safely and are of an appropriate quality.

Although the majority of these objectives and principles are of a holistic nature for the health professions generally, the emphasis on public safety cannot be underestimated.