Things to think about

There are pros and cons to regulation. The interesting thing is that some people may look at one aspect of regulation and consider it an advantage or an opportunity, while another person may see the same thing as a burden or a disadvantage.

An example

The Act specifically requires regulated practitioners to take responsibility for maintaining their own competency levels. Some may see this as an added burden, others may see it as a means of helping to remain current and yet others may see it as a part of being a recognised health professional.

Understanding the implications of the following points is important when you are considering the subject of regulation under the HPCA Act.

Regulation would bring ambulance officers and medics into line with other health professionals and bring recognition that they belong to this sector.

All registered ambulance officers and medics would be qualified and working to the same standards, bringing more consistency of practice across the sector.

Qualifications and experience would be more recognisable across the sector giving greater opportunities for career development.

Ambulance officers and medics would have greater levels of professional responsibility.

It would make sure that people wanting to work as ambulance officers and medics are competent and ‘fit to be registered’, including people with overseas qualifications who want to work in New Zealand.

There would be more opportunities for ongoing clinical education, jointly with other health professionals such as doctors and nurses, which could lead to new career pathways.

Registered health practitioners can register with ACC to provide treatments. This opens another stream of practice.

It would provide an independent channel for the review of professional conduct and competency matters.

Over time, it could mean opportunities for ambulance officers and medics to perform broader roles and do different tasks.

It may help New Zealand ambulance personnel work overseas, particularly in countries where registration exists.

Eventually, the profession could apply for prescribing rights for clinical personnel working within certain scopes of practice.

Only health practitioners who are registered under the Act are able to use the titles protected by the Act. This would mean only registered ambulance personnel would be able to call themselves by titles such as Paramedic.

Registered health practitioners cannot work outside of their scopes of practice, in a similar way as currently ambulance personnel can’t work outside their delegated authority to practice. Certain activities become restricted and can only be carried out by registered health professionals.

Ambulance officers and medics covered by the scope(s) of practice would have to be registered and have an Annual Practicing Certificate to be able to work at that level.

Ambulance officers and medics would have to take personal responsibility to remain competent at the level they are registered at, as the HPCA Act requires you to do so. Activities such as continuing clinical education may be one appropriate way of remaining competent