Queensland Ambulance Service Paramedics and Paramedicine Students Now Regulated by AHPRA
Important information for all Queensland paramedics and paramedicine Students
As the national regulation of paramedicine is approaching its final stages, Queensland paramedics should know that they must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) by 1 December 2018 in order to practice paramedicine.
Once registered, a paramedic’s registration will then be recognised in all states and territories in Australia. All paramedics should check AHPRA’s website to see if the need to register with AHPRA, as some exceptions apply.
Suitability Requirements for Paramedics
All practicing paramedics and paramedicine students should familiarise themselves with not only AHPRA’s national registration and accreditation scheme and its qualification requirements, but also AHPRA’s suitability requirements.
Paramedicine applicants (whether thorough grand parenting pathways or student pathways), have a duty to disclose certain information, including but not limited to:
- Impairments (ie, health impairments);
- Criminal histories;
- Outstanding regulatory issues (such as disqualifications, cancellations, or suspensions as a health care practitioner in any other jurisdiction); and
- matters relating to being a fit and proper person or being competent to practice safety.
What needs to be disclosed? And what happens if I don’t disclose certain matters?
Failing to disclose certain matters could mean that your AHPRA registration will be postponed, subject to extensive conditions, or denied altogether.
Paramedics and paramedicine students may need to obtain legal advice on what needs to be disclosed to AHPRA, since there are many factors and considerations which may affect your disclosure responsibilities.
Is it better to disclose my criminal history?
It is most certainly better to disclose than to not disclose criminal histories. But all paramedics should obtain advice on what exactly constitutes a ‘criminal history’ for the purposes of the national Law.
Moreover, any criminal history might mean that an applicant’s registration could be denied if the Paramedicine Board does not consider you to be a ‘fit and proper’ person. It is therefore important to contact a lawyer and ensure that any notifications submitted are accompanied by an explanation setting out the mitigating factors of the offending, to minimise the possibility of your registration being denied.
It is also very important to note that spent convictions scheme usually does not apply to the National Law, and therefore even spent convictions need to be disclosed in most circumstances.
It is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice from one of our lawyers on what criminal matters need to be disclosed, since this is a technical area of law and in most cases, AHPRA employees are unable to assist you with these types of questions.
Do I have to disclose previous disciplinary action or workplace incidents?
Depending on the circumstances and gravity, it may be prudent to disclose workplace disciplinary action or workplace incidents in which there are allegations of wrongdoing against you, however before doing so, it is important to get a lawyer to assist you in explaining the mitigating circumstances of the alleged conduct (or, if necessary, explaining your innocence).
Read more about professional misconduct and AHPRA disciplinary action.
I have been diagnosed with a medical condition: do I have to disclose it?
We highly recommend that paramedics and paramedicine students applying for registration with AHPRA obtain legal advice in relation to what medical conditions they need to disclose.
I have successfully obtained registration with AHPRA as a paramedic: now what?
As a paramedic under the National Law, you have a continuing obligation to disclose certain matters (including criminal, impairment, or workplace matters) to AHPRA. If a complaint is made against you, it is also usually dealt with by AHPRA before a decision is made by the Paramedicine Board of Australia. A complaint usually involves something that you have done in the course of your duties, but may also involve conduct in your private life which puts your good character or your ability to practice into question.
What If I have any other general questions about the transition to AHPRA? Or need help to deal with AHPRA?
Potts Lawyers has assisted countless medical professionals by advising them what exactly needs to be disclosed to AHPRA and/or the Health Ombudsman. Many of our clients also engage us to assist them make disclosures to AHPRA on their behalf.
Disclosing certain matters to AHPRA can be stressful, since your career and livelihood are at stake. Sometimes, this stress might cloud your judgement, or lead to more serious mental health issues. It is important not to delay obtaining advice on how to proceed.
We always recommend that our clients take care of their health, and let their lawyers assist them with getting the answers they need, and protect their interests to the fullest extent possible.
Consultations at Potts Lawyers
Potts Lawyers is dedicated to assisting Queensland’s brave and dedicated men and women who strive to protect our communities and who face the dangers associated with being first responders.
If you or a loved one is a paramedic or paramedicine student who needs legal advice or assistance during the national transition to AHPRA, call Potts Lawyers today for a free 20 minute consultation.