Exclusive: 'There is a potential for harm' – government set to regulate who can call themselves a paramedic

Paramedics make life and death decisions every day. But unlike doctors, nurses and midwives, they don't have to be registered.

Wellington Free Ambulance’s medical director Andrew Swain says: “Anyone can technically call themselves a paramedic.”

And that’s something they want the government to change.

For 25 years paramedics have been calling for national registration – because an unregulated workforce puts them - and the public - at risk.

"There is a potential for harm ...there are groups out there that are unregulated, don't have proper governance or accountability and we feel like that needs to be rectified," Mr Swain said.

"There are instances when a paramedic has performed poorly - has lost his employment with one of the major ambulance providers and sets up independently and there is no way to transfer that across - when you have a register they have to perform to a particular standard."

Registration would mean all paramedics would have to meet set levels of qualifications and training

A national body would also develop codes of conduct and handle complaints and discipline.

And paramedic Laura Robertson says it would give them the professional respect they deserve. "It is really important for us to be recognised for what we are because we are all proud of the profession and what we do all day."

Registration would cost about $425 a year.

And the union Paramedics Australasia is hoping the health ministry will help out.

"Otherwise it's an extra cost on paramedics who arguably are somewhat limited in their ability to pay," NZ chair Sean Thompson says.

Health Minister David Clark says he's working on a fix and will introduce a change to the rules later this year.

"The profession itself wants to be regulated - and I think that is a pretty reasonable request," he said.

They make life and death decisions, but New Zealand's paramedics don't have to be registered or regulated. Source: 1 NEWS

Toddler seriously injured after being hit by car in South Auckland

A 16-month-old child was seriously injured after being hit by car in South Auckland. 

Police and emergency services were called around 4.12pm to an accident involving a car and pedestrian on Queen Street, Otahuhu. 

A police spokesperson says a 16-month-old toddler was transported to hospital with serious injuries. 

The Serious Crash Unit has been advised. 

Police car Source: 1 NEWS


'His determination is really inspiring' - brave Gisborne teen shares story of being badly burned as a youngster

Every week in New Zealand five children are burned badly enough they are hospitalised.

One such victim is Gisborne Boys’ High student Matthew Nom, who was badly burned after he threw petrol on a fire as a child.

He was so severely burned surgeons did not think he would pull through.

Matthew told his story to TVNZ 1's Marae.

“I’m sharing my story because I want people to know that it wasn’t easy for me to get through trials, but other people can,” Matthew told the programme.

Matthew hasn’t always been open about his accident, which left his body scarred.

“I’m self-conscious, but when I’m at home I’m okay wearing shorts and stuff.”

Most children who are seriously burned are burned at home by scalding water, hot drinks or fire.

Five children aged under 15 die every year from their burns.

The often traumatic experience has a profound effect on the victim and their families.

Matthew’s mother Hineari Nom says she remembers the day the ambulance came to pick up her son after his accident.

“There’s not many ways to describe what that looks like, feels like, and even smells like.

“It’s not something I like to revisit.”

Despite his accident, Ms Nom says her son is moving on with his life.

“He’s still pulling pranks on people and playing with his mates.

“His determination is really inspiring.”

Original story by Marae reporter Hikurangi Jackson