From 1 January 2020 paramedics will be formally recognised and regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. This will give assurance that paramedics are appropriately qualified and competent to practise. There are over 20 regulated professions in New Zealand including medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, midwives, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. The Act enables independent authorities to regulate health practitioners.
Nominations for members of a new Paramedic Council will be sought early in 2020. Once the Council is established, it will spend some time setting up the new standards and processes required before all paramedics have to be registered. Registration will mean all paramedics will need to meet set levels of competence and ongoing training in addition to their relevant qualification. The registration process is expected to be in place in the second half of 2020.
Just over 1,000 paramedics currently work for the two emergency ambulance providers St John and Wellington free Ambulance. This workforce is expected to grow to 1,400 by 2021 as double-crewing becomes standard around the country.
Paramedics have been calling for national registration for more than 25 years.