In a recent meeting between representatives of the UWU and AV, discussions centered around the scope of practice for ACOs. As an ACO Leader representing the UWU, I had the opportunity to engage in these discussions about the role of ACOs, particularly those at ACO Supported branches. One significant revelation from AV was the unequivocal stance that when working alongside a Paramedic, the Paramedic must always be the primary treating member of a patient, especially during transport. This directive applies universally, irrespective of whether the patient is deemed ACO suitable or not. While ACOs may still assist with on-scene assessments within the bounds of their defined scope, AV’s stance dispels the longstanding myth that ACOs can assume the role of the primary treating member when working alongside or being supervised by a Paramedic.
Moving forward, it is crucial for ACOs, both seasoned and new, to adhere to this guidance when working with Paramedics. Despite the diligent efforts of ACOs to uphold and expand their scope of practice annually to allow, AV’s firm stance underscores the need for clear delineation in roles and responsibilities when working with Paramedics. The revelation has prompted a call for continued discussions between the UWU and AV to address and potentially reconsider these protocols, otherwise what is the point of ACO’s having a scope of practice? As ACOs navigate their roles, this insight serves as a valuable reminder to entrust patient assessment and treatment to Paramedics when working in conjunction with them, to protect yourself and avoid being put in a tricky situation.