The process

Who would make the decision about who would be registered?

The Minister of Health would set the parameters of the activities that would be regulated. He would do this on advice from the Ministry of Health and input from those in the sector.

He would make a recommendation to the Governor General that health services of a particular kind are designated as a health profession if it poses a risk of harm to the public.

The Minister would then recommend establishment of a Responsible Authority. The Responsible Authority could only develop scopes of practice for practitioners who provide services that are within the services designated by the Minister.

Once the Minister has designated the health services that would be carried by a particular health profession, and identified the relevant authority, the health practitioners who provide the designated health services would then be within the jurisdiction of the new authority;

The Responsible Authority, at that point, has a statutory responsibility to describe the work of the profession by way of scopes of practice in accordance with the HPCA Act.

It would be possible for the Minister to initially define the health services to be regulated by only incorporating those services that can be provided by ILS or ALS and not by other ambulance officers and medics. If the Responsible Authority wanted to extend this at a later date it would need further Ministerial approval.

Top top

If a decision is made to go ahead with professional registration, what are the next steps?

The ambulance sector will need to make a formal application to the Ministry of Health who will advise the Minister. The application will need to show how it meets the criteria set out in the HPCA Act.

The application would need to address whether regulation would help to protect the public from practitioners who are able to cause harm.

When assessing the application Ministry of Health staff would need to consult the wider health sector, review the application and assess if regulation of ambulance officers and medics would increase public health and safety.

Several other health professions have recently expressed an interest in being recognised under the HPCA Act so the timeframe that an application from the ambulance sector may take to progress is unknown. It could depend on how much work is involved for the Ministry of Health with any applications from other health professionals that are happening in parallel

Also, as the HPCA Act requires the Responsible Authority to consult on scopes of practice, registration pathways, clinical and cultural competencies and codes of conduct. This would enable the ambulance and wider health sector and the public to be involved in standard setting for this sector.

Top top

Then what would happen?

The Ministry of Health would also consult with the ambulance sector to see if the Responsible Authority should stand alone or be added to another profession’s Authority. Once this decision is made and the members of the Responsible Authority are appointed, this group would decide how to organise the secretariat.

The Responsible Authority would then develop the scope(s) of practice and decide the qualifications it would accept. The Responsible Authority has to consult widely on this and they would be sensible to base this work on the work already achieved in this area by the sector group that is currently working with Ambulance New Zealand to develop a set national qualifications, and a national scope of practice.

Top top