Despite the Federal Government’s recent stated support for paramedics to work to “top of scope” as part of new models of multidisciplinary, team-based healthcare, the profession, which is uniquely placed to deliver primary care in a range of diverse settings, was not mentioned in the 2023 budget’s health funding allotments. Detail was also lacking in the articulation of just what those models of care will look like, how they will operate, and the envisioned workforce composition.
“In the lead-up to the budget, the government outlined a clear vision for a reshaped health landscape and the provision of improved primary health and patient-centred care, one that was more responsive, accessible, and holistic, that would alleviate the pressure on GPs and hospitals, and that specifically mentioned paramedics,” said Australasian College of Paramedicine Chair Ryan Lovett. “Very little of that vision is elaborated upon and reflected in the budget that has been released. It lacks innovation.”
Additionally, what was touted in the government’s recent “Summary of Strengthening Medicare Policies” as a National Scope of Practice Review aimed at examining the barriers and incentives for all health professionals to work to their full scope of practice across the primary care sector, in the budget it was referred to as a scope of practice review to examine current models of primary care.
The College recognises that there is a commitment to implementing health workforce incentive programs and multidisciplinary models of care in the budget; however, without a clearer path forward for the integration of paramedics and other health practitioners, communities will continue to struggle to access the level of care they need.
Paramedics have long been overlooked as a key workforce capable of addressing these challenges and have consistently lacked the support needed to realise their full potential, despite many already working to “top of scope” in innovative new models of healthcare.
“Paramedicine has been an Ahpra-registered profession since 2018, and we now have paramedics working in different roles across the health system providing a much-needed, albeit still underutilised, health workforce,” said College Chair Ryan Lovett. “It’s undeniably positive that the government has recognised the need to introduce new multidisciplinary models to address the challenges facing the health sector, and it is what we have long advocated for; however, a lot more is needed to genuinely enable paramedics to work to ‘top of scope’ as part of these models.
“Moving forward, we look forward to working with the government and Public Health Networks to support the development of sustainable health legislation and policies to ensure that paramedics work to their full scope of practice, delivering improved primary healthcare for all Australians.”
Jemma Altmeier, Advocacy and Government Relations Manager, Australasian College of Paramedicine, on 0409 911 681 or email email@example.com