On Wednesday 30 October 2013, the South Australian House of Assembly passed legislation introduced by the Health Minister, the Hon Jack Snelling MP, for the Protection of Title – Paramedics. This followed the tabling of an Amendment Bill to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) 2010 last week.

Following discussions with Paramedics Australasia and other stakeholders, the Government moved an amendment to revise the definition of a paramedic, but otherwise the Bill was unchanged from that tabled previously. The amended Bill No 197 now reads as follows:

Amendment No 1 [Health—1]—

Clause 4, page 3, lines 1 to 4 [clause 4, inserted section 120A(2)] —

Delete subsection (2) and substitute:

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b), a paramedic is a health professional who provides emergency medical assessment, treatment and care in the pre-hospital, or out-of-hospital, environment.

The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council on 30 October 2013, and will be debated at the earliest opportunity.

Paramedics Australasia has formally clarified that the intent of the proposed legislative change is to protect the public by ensuring that any person employed as a paramedic in South Australia holds appropriate qualifications and training. There is no intention to prescribe or restrict the scope of practice as part of the current legislation or regulations. SA Health has confirmed that:

“ … It is expected that employing organisations would have governance structures in place to ensure that a paramedic could only undertake those procedures in which they are qualified and are competent to perform. It is also expected that paramedics themselves would have responsibility in understanding what their scope of practice is based on their education and competency.”

Paramedics Australasia trusts that this advice will provide reassurance to practitioners in both private and public sectors regarding the intent and potential impacts of the amended legislation.

Paramedics Australasia will continue to meet with the South Australian government in identifying and resolving the complex issues involved in these transitionary moves and will report the outcomes of our discussions as further information becomes available.

For more information, contact details are available HERE.