A revised joint statement from the Health and Care Professions Council and the College of Paramedics for paramedics practising with a reduced scope of practice.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the College of Paramedics recognise that practitioners registered as paramedics may work in roles with a reduced skill set or scope of practice (roles different to their protected title of ‘paramedic’). This includes working as First Aiders or Emergency Medical Technicians.
The HCPC and the College of Paramedics are aware of concerns in the paramedic profession about acting in these types of roles, such as the impact this might have on their professional registration.
The HCPC and the College of Paramedics support registered paramedics practising in these roles.
When working in these roles, it is important that registered paramedics continue to meet the HCPC’s standards and to follow any guidance set by the College of Paramedics, if they are a member.
This joint statement sets out our common approach of support towards registered paramedics working in these roles, and our mutual expectations.
Health and Care Professions Council statement
Working in a role different to your protected title
We often receive enquiries from paramedics about working in roles different to their protected title of ‘paramedic’, with a reduced scope of practice and how this could have an impact on their registration with us.
We want to assure registrants that practising in these roles should not affect your registration, provided that you continue to practise safely and effectively and meet our standards at all times.
Working in a reduced scope of practice
For some registrants, their job description may mean that they are not fulfilling the full scope of practice of a paramedic. This also should not affect a registrant’s registration, provided that they keep within the scope of practice of the role they are practising.
This requires registrants to make sure that they practise within the limits and expectations of their job description and level of indemnity for that role. Registrants may need to undertake a narrower range of tasks or activities than they would undertake as a paramedic, or to work with a narrower range of equipment or medicines.
There may be circumstances in which a service user requires care that a paramedic could give, but which is beyond the scope of practice of the registrant’s current role. In these situations the registrant must then call for appropriate assistance or use their professional judgement to take other appropriate steps to act in the best interests of the service user.
If registrants are unsure about the limits and expectations of their role, they may wish to clarify this with their employer or their indemnity insurance provider.
You can read more about scope of practice on our website.
Please note, this statement relates to paramedics practising in roles with a reduced scope of practice only.
For those who are practising at an advanced level of practice, we are undertaking a separate piece of work which aims to identify any regulatory challenges and any risks presented by registrants’ advancing their practice, and how the HCPC should respond to these to ensure public protection and to support our registrants’ professionalism/good practice.
You can read more information here.
Prescribing rights and practising with a reduced scope of practice
A registrant’s medicines possession, administration and prescribing rights are tied to their professional registration, job description and indemnity cover.
This means that if a paramedic is qualified and annotated as a non-medical prescriber but is not acting in a paramedic role (as determined by their job description and level of indemnity), they will be unable to prescribe. This is also true of medicines exemptions for paramedics.
You can read more about the medicines and prescribing rights of our registrants on our website.
This does not include paramedics who are working in specialist or advanced practice roles. As set out above, we are undertaking a separate piece of work on this area.
Employing registered paramedics in other roles
Employers who employ registered paramedics in roles with a reduced scope of practice should be aware that HCPC registrants must meet our standards at all times.
This means that registrants practising as First Aiders, Emergency Medical Technicians or similar will be expected to keep within the scope of practice of the role they are employed in (as determined by the job description and level of indemnity). This may prevent them from carrying out tasks or providing care which would normally be carried out by a paramedic, such as medicines administration, or prescribing for those suitably qualified and annotated.
College of Paramedics statement
The College of Paramedics is happy to endorse this helpful clarification issued by the Health and Care Professions Council.
We are aware that many paramedics practise outside of their normal working environment in a variety of settings, some paid and some unpaid. The College of Paramedics receives enquiries from members who are concerned about practising with a limited scope of practice and without certain equipment or medicines. This document confirms that paramedics are able to practise in these circumstances without risk to their registration, provided the standard of care is appropriate to the circumstances.Richard WebberTrustee Official for Membership & CommunicationsCollege of Paramedics