Summary of the current position
- All public sector wages have been restricted by the 2.5% wage cap
- Massive improvements in Paramedic Scope of Practice Since 2010 - more than any other profession
- Paramedics now have tertiary qualifications as a standard
- Paramedics are registered Health Practitioners
- Paramedics work in an autonomous environment that makes them a unique resource
- NSW paramedics are among the most qualified in the country; however, we are the lowest paid.
Paramedics are prepared to participate in redesigning their role within the health structure in a way that maximises the benefits to the community and NSW Health, while recognising Paramedics as Health professionals and allowing for parity of wages not restricted by the wages policy.
Current Situation in NSW Health
- Increasing ED waiting times
- Growing health budget costs
- Lack of GP availability
- 8-10% of acute hospital beds being taken up by aged care residents
- Lack of accessible palliative care in many parts of the state
- Inequity of care between rural and metropolitan NSW
- Poor provision of primary health care across NSW
- Inappropriate management of mental health patients
- Limited alternatives to ED for low acuity care patients
Proposal to NSW Health Taskforce
The focus of the HSU proposal is to reduce ED presentations and to provide a resource for the community that would allow people to remain home after treatment and decrease transports into hospital.
Initially the HSU is suggesting several areas of health that would greatly benefit the community from extended scope of practices to all paramedics. Care outside of the ED through alternate clinical pathways Including:
- GP Referrals
- Mental Health
- Aged Care
- Palliative Care
- Wound Care
- Primary Health
- Virtual Health
Benefits of Professional Recognition to the Community and NSW Health
- Reduced Bed block by keeping patients away from EDs
- Reduce GP waiting times by using a first, direct contact to Allied Health Professionals
- Extra resource to the Community
- Empowerment to the Community
- Reduced cost to NSWH by reducing number presenting to the ED
- Enhance career pathway for Paramedics
Statement of the current situation
Paramedics are an integral part of the health system in NSW, yet we are under-utilised in the broader model of health. Paramedics respond to emergencies and attend to these crisis situations every day. However, we are also used by the community for low acuity work as there are simply no services available outside normal business hours. The only other alternative is to attend the emergency department of already overloaded hospitals.
Statement of benefit of Professional Recognition
The major advantage of Paramedic Professional Recognition is to the community itself. Patients may not have a health professional in their local community and would have to travel large distances to access health care. It is difficult to attract doctors and nurses to rural and remote areas. The utilisation of paramedics in areas where the ambulance station is already established provides a cost-effective measure that ensures a service to under-resourced regional and remote areas.
- In exchange for participating in this redesign, Paramedics are seeking parity in wages with other equivalently qualified Health Practitioners.
- The paramedic role and identity are unique with autonomous decision making and unsupervised practice and procedures.
- An equivalent role in NSW Health would be that of a Clinical Nurse Specialist with the advanced care paramedics such as ICP and ECP having equivalence with a Clinical Nurse Consultant.
- Advancing paramedic skills and knowledge has resulted in 12 years of increased productivity for successive governments of NSW. This productivity has never been recognised or renumerated. This has resulted in savings for the state over the past decade.
Paramedic Professional Recognition is in support of a new job design and renumeration for NSWA Paramedics.
This proposal will change the face of Paramedicine in NSW and will go a long way to address the overwhelming issues that face NSW Health and increasing demands of increasing and aging populations.
The recognition of the professional attributes of NSWA paramedics is long overdue. Since 2010 there has been substantial increases in clinical scope of practice.
Despite these enhancements and advancements in tertiary qualifications, NSWA paramedics wages remain the lowest in the country.
This proposal puts forward ideas to ease the pressure on a strained NSW health system and by doing so offers potential savings and increased resources to the community.
These savings and benefits justify the submission for the ‘new paramedic’ system to be remunerated appropriately.