Meeting Newz May / June 2021

Legislation simply has not kept up with what has been a rapidly evolving profession over the last 10-15 years; in 1885 when St John was first established in New Zealand the focus was first aid and transport whereas today a paramedic can provide a wide range of clinical interventions and invasive life saving procedures. Due to the absence of legislation, up until now any private provider could have quoted for and provided a ‘paramedic’, with no mechanism to ensure they are in fact appropriately qualified, competent, and experienced. On 1 January 2020 paramedics were defined as a ‘health profession’ under the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act 2003, and the Te Kaunihera Manapou Paramedic Council was delegated as the authority to regulate the profession. The purpose of this act is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions. What this means is that once paramedic registration is complete (later this year) an unqualified person can no longer claim to be a paramedic. Does this apply to all medical personnel attending my event or venue? There are generally five recognised tiers of ambulance clinical qualifications – First Responder (Level 3 Cert in Emergency Care), Emergency Medical Technician (Diploma in Ambulance), Paramedic (Paramedicine Degree), Intensive Care Paramedic (Post Graduate – High Acuity Focus), and Extended Care Paramedic (Post Grad – Low Acuity Focus). It is only the latter three roles that have the term ‘paramedic’ in their name that require registration under the act. Emergency Medical Technicians and First Responders are essentially considered to not have the same level of risk qualifications to the public, and therefore you will need to seek alternative assurances that they are appropriately qualified and experienced. What other assurances are there? It is appropriate to ask if your event medical provider is compliant with, and audited against, the Ambulance Standard (S8156:2019). The standard sets appropriate standards of service covering how ambulance and paramedical services are organised and provided. It provides a means of assessing the extent to which ambulance and paramedical services are worthy of This week I was excited to receive confirmation that I have been issued an annual practicing certificate as a registered paramedic in New Zealand. Whilst this may seem a little trivial to be excited about, it is in fact a momentous occasion for paramedics in New Zealand – and something that has ramifications for venue managers and event organisers when requesting medical cover. patients’ confidence and trust and that the level of service offered is clinically safe and appropriate to the nature of the event. Do I require a registered paramedic at my event? The clinical qualifications required at each event is unique and will be informed by both the risk profile and the industry requirements. The medical provider, as per the ambulance standard and as an overlapping person conducting a business or undertaking, should complete a risk assessment prior to undertaking an event to determine the most appropriate qualification level required. There are many events that can be safely operated with a First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician, in fact approximately 65% of the events St John cover are at this qualification level. If you have any questions relating to this column please don’t hesitate to contact me directly, via or in person at the mid-year EVANZ Conference. Simon Barnett has 15 years’ experience as a frontline intensive care paramedic and is head of Event Health Services at St John By Simon Barnett Paramedic registration, what does it mean for you? [ ST J OHN COLUMN [50] meeting newz [may jun] 2021