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Call for true primary health care reform

Nursing group oppose a primary health care system around medical models of service delivery.

Rhetoric about health reform during the 2010 federal election is all well and good, but nurses fear that current reform will go off the boil, said Royal College of Nursing Australia.

RCNA CEO Debra Cerasa said while proposed announcements of primary health care reform have been welcomed, she feared that political campaigning may derail the reform process.

"Let's have less rhetoric and more solid work on what has already started," she said.

"We are amazed that some options being put forward reflect a bygone era. We need a contemporary health system that reflects modern thinking.

"We need to make better use of our nursing workforce. This is not rocket science. We know what can help. Let's stop talking and instead start making real change.

Primary health care wasn’t about providing access to GPs, Cerasa said. Instead, it should be about providing access to a range of health professionals including nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in the community.

“Many health services are provided in the community outside of general practice and must be supported and expanded.

"RCNA would like guarantees that GP super clinics are designed to genuinely support access to multidisciplinary care and not only at the discretion of a GP.

"We support a move away from the dominance of fee-for -service funding structures that are general practice focussed. Block funding delivered in the right way will provide the public with access to the range of health professionals across primary health care settings."

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