The College welcomes the explicit acknowledgement of paramedicine and its place among other health professions in the delivery of multidisciplinary team-based healthcare in the release yesterday of the first Issues paper in the Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce: Scope of Practice Review.
As contributors to the review, we commend the vision of independent reviewer Professor Mark Cormack and his team in recognising the potential of paramedics to help shape a new era of healthcare services and delivery in Australia. It marks a significant step forward for the paramedicine profession.
The acknowledgement of the barriers to broader paramedic integration across the health system in Australia noted in Issues Paper 1 - including funding, the systemic changes needed, and employer-level challenges - demonstrate an understanding of not only the current challenges but also the pathways that exist to realise this objective.
Importantly, the Review Committee has singled out community paramedicine as a means of delivering team-based care in regional and rural areas of the country to bolster the capacity and delivery of health services:
“Paramedics are trained to perform a broad scope of practice that could benefit the community by providing consumer care in their home or in community settings, rather than via the acute care system. Consumers with chronic illnesses could particularly benefit from a community paramedic service model. However, it is well established that what paramedics are credentialled to do in their specific clinical setting often excludes certain activities they are trained and able to do, such as wound management, vaccination, testing to support chronic disease management, catheterisation, prescribing or providing medicines. There is particular importance placed on community paramedic roles in regional and remote communities.”
The paper cites the community paramedicine model adopted by National Aboriginal Health Service in Wiluna in Western Australia as an “exemplar for the delivery of multidisciplinary care between small rural health services and paramedic response”.
The College has advocated with national and state governments for just such recognition, and we have been heard. We look forward to continuing to work with the Review Committee to ensure our vision becomes a reality for the benefit of all Australians.