National registration of paramedics in Australia will take place in 2018. Let’s take a timely look at what national registration currently looks like in Australia.

How many practitioners are registered in Australia?

 Nat rego AHPRA image

Why national registration?

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health practitioners commenced on 1 July 2010.

The aims of the NRAS include:

  • protecting the public by ensuring that only suitably trained and qualified practitioners are registered;
  • facilitating workforce mobility across Australia; and
  • enabling the continuous development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable Australian health workforce.

Three key areas of the national scheme are: accreditation, registration and notifications (complaints). (Look out for discussion on these three areas in future issues of Rapid Response.)

What health professions in Australia are currently registered?

Fourteen health professions are currently regulated nationally. Paramedicine is set to become the fifteenth registered profession. The 14 professions regulated to date are (as at June 2015):

  • Chiropractic (4998)
  • Dental (21,209)
  • Medical (103,133)
  • Nursing and midwifery (370,303)
  • Optometry (4,915)
  • Osteopathy (2,000)
  • Pharmacy (29,014)
  • Physiotherapy (27,543)
  • Podiatry (4386)
  • Psychology (32,766)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice (391)
  • Chinese medicine (4494)
  • Medical radiation practice (14,866)
  • Occupational therapy (17,200).

Each profession has a National Board that regulates the profession, registers practitioners and develops standards, codes and guidelines for that profession. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) administers the NRAS and provides administrative support to the National Boards.

It is expected that the Paramedicine/Paramedic Board will be formed along the lines of the current 14 national boards to consist of practitioner members, community members and jurisdictional members. PA will advise members when the Ministerial Council invites applications for the Board to ensure that our membership is well represented.

This future Board will have significant influence in regards to paramedicine through setting national standards of practice, developing guidance for paramedics on their scope of practice, and managing complaints and notifications about a paramedic’s health, performance or conduct.