German emergency paramedics could be allowed to take over medical tasks in the future

Germany: Emergency paramedics could be allowed to take over independent medical tasks under certain conditions for patients in life-threatening situations. But this could pose legal difficulties.


Germany – Emergency paramedics should be allowed to take over independent medical tasks under certain conditions for patients in life-threatening situations. The Grand Coalition is striving for a corresponding amendment to the Emergency Paramedics Act.

Already today, emergency paramedics are qualified in their training for the independent implementation of medical measures within the framework of standardized guidelines (SOP’s), according to the justification. Country examples in which SOPs are already established for use in emergencies show that these requirements are suitable for making a significant contribution to legal certainty in the exercise of the profession of emergency paramedic if they are applied uniformly in the country and also cover special situations such as the administration of narcotics. Since both the counties and associations continued to complain about legal uncertainties in the exercise of their profession, it was vital to examine legal measures that would contribute to greater legal clarity.

Nevertheless, there always remains a problem of demarcation. For example, the question of whether the patient’s condition was life-threatening continues to arise. This would have to be “decided according to the situation” anyway. In this respect, it seemed appropriate and sensible to continue to provide for the transfer of medical tasks to emergency paramedics by delegation.

“Standardised guidelines for such cases will make it highly likely that the possibilities in which the justification for the state of emergency can be relied upon can be reduced, especially since modern means of communication mean that doctors can be involved at almost any time,” says the Federal Government. The present new version thus creates an “appropriate balance between the protection of patients’ lives or health” and the interests of the professionals in more legal certainty in the exercise of their profession.

A substitution of medical services especially in the context of an emergency situation is “rejected for the benefit and protection of the sick and injured patients”. The specialist societies and professional associations expressly affirmed the importance of well-trained emergency paramedics. However, they are concerned that a substitution of medical services in the event of damage leads to the question of assuming legal consequences.

In this regard, the Federal Council had announced that there is a need to improve the area in which emergency paramedics were deployed. The state chamber of commerce advocated that legal clarity must be created when emergency paramedics carry out life-saving measures in the field.

Note: This article is based on the article “Notfallsanitäter sollen ärztliche Aufgaben übernehmen dürfen”


[1] (2019): Notfallsanitäter sollen ärztliche Aufgaben übernehmen dürfen. URL at: