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Policy update

RCNA meets with the Productivity Commission

The government has asked the Productivity Commission to develop detailed options for redesigning Australia’s aged care system. RCNA hosted a meeting between key expert members and the Commission on 8 July to highlight critical issues from a nursing perspective and ensure that future aged care reforms are informed by the nursing profession.

RCNA was represented by expert members and fellows, Professor Tracey McDonald, Dr Susan Koch, Ms Maryann Curry, Ms Sue McKechnie and Professor Beverly O’Connell, who gathered in Canberra for a round-table discussion on key aspects of the health care needs of Australia’s ageing population, future care environments, health workforce requirements, new models of care and potential funding models to support future reforms.

RCNA delivered a clear message that fundamental reform to the aged care system must include funding incentives for aged care providers to create and effectively utilise new and expanded nursing roles to help provide aged care services where currently none exist, or are difficult to access. Expanding the role of nurses will support timely access to care and relieve the increasing demand on general practice, emergency departments and the acute health care sector.

RCNA also advised the Commission that the need to scope and develop a nationally endorsed practice framework for unlicensed workers that include codes of ethics, codes of conduct and standards of competency to assist unlicensed workers and the nurses to whom they report in the delivery of safe, high quality care is essential.

It is imperative that the Commission clearly grasps the importance of the nursing workforce in helping to maximise efficiency and improve service delivery. RCNA has prepared a written submission to the Productivity Commission during the initial consultation phase and will continue to keep RCNA members abreast of further developments in the public inquiry into aged care.

RCNA members are invited to view the initial submission at www.rcna.org.au/policy/submissions.

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