New Victorian Regulations for the First Aid Industry
A few years ago, the Department of Health brought in changes to regulate and improve the Paramedic industry, by introducing registration. This set the standard of what could be expected in regards to skills and scope from a Paramedic and has been a great improvement to the healthcare industry.
Much more recently, the First Aid Industry has gone through a similar change. In October 2021, the Department of Health has introduced a requirement for a First Aid Licence that all businesses providing First Aid/Medical services must apply for.
While it was a time consuming process and there is still some work to be done, Colmed Group has welcomed this change as it means a big step towards concise industry standards. It (should have) cleared the field of some dodgy providers, although after doing only some brief investigation, it’s clear that there are still quite a few providers out there that continue to operate despite not having a First Aid License.
Click here to find an updated list of licenced providers.
Government corporations have already been advised of this change and can now only engage licenced First Aid Providers, and the Department of Health encourages everyone that engages a first aid service to ask for their licence.
Below are excerpts from the Victorian Department of Health website outlining the changes and answering some frequently asked questions:
Non-Emergency Patient Transport and First Aid Services Act 2003 Part 2A, 42H
From October, 2021, all First Aid Service providers in Victoria require a first aid licence under the Non-Emergency Patient Transport and First Aid Services Act 2003 (the Act).
First Aid Service Licence
A first aid service is an individual or organisation that offers or provides first aid in exchange for payment.
All first aid services are required to gain a first aid licence in accordance with the Act.
A staff member of a first aid service includes those employed, subcontracted, engaged through labour hire and individuals working on a voluntary basis-without renumeration or reward.
Levels of First Aid Service
|1. Basic First Aid Service||A first aid service that has appropriately trained staff and is equipped to adequately cater for minor injuries or illnesses which would not usually require referral to another health care provider or hospital.||Low risk school sports (basketball, badminton, tennis, cricket etc), community event and fetes|
|2. Intermediate First Aid Service||A first aid service that has appropriately trained staff and is equipped to adequately cater for significant injuries or illnesses which may require referral to another healthcare provider or hospital.||Low speed motor sports, low impact equestrian, small festivals|
|3. Advanced First Aid Service (Level Colmed Group has been granted)||A first aid service that has appropriately trained staff and is equipped to adequately cater for serious injuries or illnesses which often require referral to another healthcare provider or hospital.|
Multiple licences are not required for organisations who wish to provide first aid services in more than one licence category.
|International, National Motor sports events and equestrian, multiday and large festivals,|
- Basic Licence Holder must operate at Basic the First Aid Level
- Intermediate Licence Holder: may operate at the Basic and Intermediate Levels
- Advanced Licence Holder: may operate at the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Levels.
What does this change mean for event organisers and local councils?
As an event organiser, or local council planning or approving an event, you should ensure that the first aid service contracted to the event is licenced. Having a licenced first aid service is important to ensure the provision of quality and safe patient care.
Where can I locate a list of licenced first aid services?
The register of licenced first aid services is available on the Department of Health (the department’s) website https://www.health.vic.gov.au/patient-care/first-aid-services The licenced first aid providers register will be updated regularly to ensure information is current. Please check the register prior to any event you have planned or approved.
What happens if the first aid service contracted for the event is not on the licenced register?
If you intend using or approving a first aid service that doesn’t appear on the register, please contact the NEPT and First Aid Regulations team at Neptfirstaidregulation@health.vic.gov.au in the first instance. A member of the team will check the status of your preferred first aid service provider. If your preferred service is not licenced, they cannot provide first aid services in Victoria.
A first aid service providing first aid in Victoria without a licence is in breach of the Act and must not be permitted to provide first aid.
If you are made aware of an un-licenced first aid service tendering for, or servicing an event, please notify the NEPT and First Aid Regulations team via Neptfirstaidregulation@health.vic.gov.au.
Do all first aid services offer the same level of first aid?
No. Under the regulations, first aid services are divided into three distinct levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced. The first aid provider can only operate their first aid service at the level they are licenced.
The minimum clinical staff level is a trained first aid officer holding a relevant certificate III qualification or below. Basic providers have access to ‘over the counter’ medications and are trained and equipped to adequately cater for minor injuries or illnesses which would not usually require referral to another health care provider or hospital for ongoing care, for example simple wounds, sunburn, sprains and strains.
Example Event types:
Low risk event profile- the event nature and patron demographics, numbers and behaviours have a low probability of patient injury and or illness. For example,
- community and school sport
- local fete
The minimum clinical staff level includes certificate IV or diploma trained first aid officer and some registered health professionals. Intermediate providers have access to some scheduled medications and are trained and equipped to adequately cater for significant injuries or illnesses which may require referral to another healthcare provider or hospital for ongoing care, for example fractured bones.
Example Event types:
- low speed motorsport
- low impact equestrian events
- small festivals
The minimum clinical staff level includes registered health professionals, such as registered paramedics, registered nurses, and registered medical practitioners, including anaesthetists and critical care physicians.
Advanced providers have access to additional scheduled medications and are trained and equipped to adequately cater for serious injuries or illnesses which often require referral to another healthcare provider or hospital for ongoing care. For example, traumatic head injured patients who have been intubated. In addition, advanced providers may offer primary care services, such as suturing and anti-biotic administration.
Example Event types:
High risk event profile- the event nature and patron demographics, numbers and behaviours have a high probability of patient injury and or illness. For example,
- high speed motorsport
- high impact equestrian
- geographically isolated or dispersed
- aquatic motorsport
- large festivals, including multi day events.
- event size > 10k
- new events, with moderate level risk (nil prior event history)
How do I know if the first aid service provider is appropriate for the event?
A first aid service provider is required to undertake a risk assessment of each event to assess potential health risks. This will inform the first aid service of their ability to provide safe and quality care. Event organisers and local council should work collaboratively with first aid services to undertake a thorough risk assessment.
The first aid service is responsible for their risk assessment to ensure that it matches the event profile. It is not expected an event organiser will prescribe or specify the clinical care required, instead event organisers should provide appropriate, updated information about the event to enable the first aid service to determine the clinical care requirements.
Within an event, there may be different levels of risk. Spectators, for example may only need the provision of basic first aid, while participants may need a higher level. It is important that event organisers and local councils properly assess and communicate their needs based on their understanding of the event and any learnings from previous events.
NOTE: A First aid service providing first aid beyond their licenced service level is in breach of the regulations.