The role of paramedics working in rural communities is expanding to improve patient care when an emergency strikes.

Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy unveiled the Advanced Paramedic Roles Implementation Pilot, which will trial new roles for paramedics in rural communities.

The advanced paramedic roles will be trialled in new settings such as urgent care and primary care, complementing the work of GPs, nurse practitioners and other health workers.

The pilot will see paramedics go beyond their traditional roles responding to emergency cases – offering new career pathways and other opportunities. It will give rural communities better access to care when they need it.

The paramedic practitioner role is an innovative way of providing healthcare to small rural communities, where paramedics will work with community partners to prevent health problems before they become life-threatening.

The pilot will involve interested Paramedic Community Support Coordinators who work in small rural communities across Victoria. Paramedic Community Support Coordinators are professional paramedics who provide emergency care, but also provide training to first responders such as Ambulance Community Officers.

There are now 16 Paramedic Community Support Coordinators working across rural Victoria, with recent additions based at Ouyen, Manangatang, Donald, Beaufort, Nagambie and Sale. Others are based at Tallangatta, Alexandra, Neerim South, Lavers Hill, Coleraine, Stawell, Omeo, Mallacoota, Hopetoun and Wedderburn.

The advanced paramedic pilot is the first step towards the establishment of a paramedic practitioner role in Victoria. Ms Hennessy will use this week’s COAG Health Council to urge the Paramedicine Board of Australia to develop a national model, including standards of practice and education requirements.