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Policy update – February 2010

RCNA provides feedback on the draft national registration and accreditation standards for nursing and midwifery.

Registration feedback
In October 2009 the newly established Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) released two consultation papers seeking feedback on a proposed set of national standards for national registration and accreditation developed by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC).
RCNA responded in detail to the Consultation paper on registration standards and related matters that presented and sought feedback on the draft registration standards due for implementation in July this year.

The draft standards included standards relating to criminal history and English language requirements as well as continuing professional development and recency of practice requirements, to name a few. RCNA provided a range of comments on the draft standards, in some instances suggesting changes to the proposed standards and in others seeking further clarification.

RCNA also provided general comments on the proposed standards in the Consultation paper on draft accreditation standards for nursing and midwifery. In particular, RCNA stressed the importance of maintaining competency-based methods of nursing and midwifery education that should not be in any way undermined by requirements to fulfil a prescribed number of professional clinical experience hours.

RCNA also highlighted that if costs of accreditation were shared between government, registrants and providers, collective benefits would be realised. RCNA’s submission can be viewed at

Amendment opposition
RCNA expresses strong opposition to health legislation amendments in submission to Senate Inquiry.

RCNA provided a comprehensive submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs in response to the government’s proposed amendments on ‘collaborative arrangements’ to the Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009, announced by federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, on 5 November 2009.

The proposed amendment stipulates a requirement in primary legislation for midwives to have collaborative arrangements with medical practitioners in order to be eligible for Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) provider status.

In the submission RCNA expressed strong opposition to the proposed amendments as an unnecessary and potentially restrictive move that will duplicate existing regulatory mechanisms.
RCNA argued that safe, appropriate and collaborative care can be demonstrated by measuring, reporting and evaluating outcomes and auditing evidence, without requiring signed agreements between midwives and medical practitioners. RCNA also reiterated concerns previously communicated that linking MBS eligibility to approval by a medical practitioner would threaten the key intention of the proposed reforms to improve access to maternity services, ultimately resulting in a loss for the community.

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