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Interdisciplinary approach vital

RCNA calls for a stronger commitment to community and primary health care.

An interdisciplinary approach to community and primary health care that extends beyond the confines of general practice is needed.

That is according to Kathleen McLaughlin, RCNA deputy CEO, who said it was imperative that the range of health services provided by the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions are made accessible to the public

As a member of the National Primary Health Care Partnership in Australia, RCNA stresses the need for more flexible funding models that support public access to a broad range of health services deliverable outside of the general practice environment.

Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) rebates are generally only available to the public for medical services. Few nursing, midwifery or allied health services attract MBS and PBS rebates, said McLaughlin.

“If the government is committed to renewing our primary health care system, it must support and fund the many community and primary health care services provided by nurses, midwives and allied health professions,” she said.

Results from the 2007-08 National Health Survey showed that 46 per cent of Australians consulted health professionals other than medical practitioners and dentists in the twelve months before the survey, demonstrating the high demand for these services.

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