I have recently completed an Emergency First Response (EFR) course and I am seeking clarification from PHECC whether I can practice EFR outside my volunteer role with one of the voluntary ambulance services?


As a rule, you should only practise EFRwhen you are working (paid or volunteering) for a service provider that is authorised by PHECC to implement CPGs at EFR level. CPG approval is PHECC’s mechanism to assess and monitor the capacity of the service provider to create and maintain an environment to ensure patient safety. Other responder relevant conditions to implement CPGs are:

  • That the responder maintains current certification as outlined in PHECC’s Education & Training standard; and
  • Has received training and is competent in, the skills and medications specified in the CPG being utilised.
However, in your walk of life you may opportunistically come across patients needing pre-hospital emergency care in a so called Good Samaritan capacity. Then it would be appropriate for you to use your EFR knowledge and skills to assist the patient while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical services. This should not be confused with a responder on a duty (expectations to provide care) at an event or similar.
  It is difficult to provide definite advice on the legal situation regarding the provision of prehospital care. However, the likelihood of being successfully sued is negligible due to the absence of related statutory or common law duties and because it is difficult to establish negligence linked to harm. In summary, if you act in line with your level of training and not in a negligent fashion, it is unlikely that any legal claim against you would be successful.

The memorandum prepared by Dr Ciaran D Craven BL, is not a complete legal analysis of all the issues that can arise and is not specific legal advice. However, it does provide general guidance on the matter. You can see the full memorandum on our website under Council/Legislation.
In addition the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 was passed into Irish Law on the 2nd August 2011. The Act offers Good Samaritans and volunteer responders further protection from personal liability. You can download the full version of the Act (a PDF) at