Nearly 50 delegates from Australia, Canada, Scotland and the United States met July 27 - 28, 2005, in Nova Scotia to share ideas on integrating rural EMS providers into rural health care delivery systems. The historic meeting was hosted by National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) founder Ron Stewart, MD, and the Emergency Health Services (EHS) Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Health at the Medical School of Dalhousie University in Halifax.
During 2003 and 2004 the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) led a national consensus process to create the Rural & Frontier EMS Agenda for the Future (“the Agenda”). The first chapter of the Agenda contains a series of recommendations for integrating EMS personnel into rural health care systems. The Agenda project was funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
While the Agenda was in development in the United States, the province of Nova Scotia, and the countries of Australia and Scotland had concurrently and independently recognized the need to expand the scope of their respective paramedic services to meet the needs of increasingly isolated elderly populations and overwhelmed rural health care services. The work in Nova Scotia was of particular interest as it was the only known working model of Community Paramedic practice in North America at the time of the conference.
At the meeting the delegates discovered that the rural health issues in the four countries are remarkably similar. It is very interesting to note that all systems which developed “Community Paramedic / Paramedic Practitioner” programs did so as the direct result of public pressure for service or a sudden change in thehealth care human resources dynamic of their areas. It is also interesting to note that EMS systems were not seen as part of the primary care continuum until most other options were exhausted.
The second IRCP meeting was held in Rochester, Minnesota, United States, July 24-27, 2006.
The third IRCP meeting was held in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, September 19-21, 2007.
The fourth IRCP meeting was held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, May 26-27, 2008.
The fifth IRCP meeting was held in Matakana, New Zealand, October 12-13, 2009.
The sixth IRCP meeting was held in Vail, Colorado, United States, August 9-13, 2010.
The seventh IRCP meeting was held in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, October 9-11, 2011.
The eighth IRCP meeting was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 15-17, 2012.
The ninth IRCP meeting was held in Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom, May 2013.
The tenth IRCP meeting will be held in the United States in 2014.