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Nurses call for support

For true reform of the health system, there must be no dominance by any one profession, says RCNA.

Australian nurses are disappointed by the lack of support from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) for a health system based on interdisciplinary care to improve Australia’s health outcomes.

“Unfortunately, the AMA is focused on sustaining traditional hierarchical models of care rather than supporting the federal government’s planned Lead Clinicians Groups, a reform measure designed to ensure clinical leadership and engagement in national health reform,” said Debra Cerasa, CEO of Royal College of Nursing, Australia (RCNA).

“The nursing profession highly values interdisciplinary care and the contribution of the range of health professions to a person’s health care.

“That is why it is vital that consumers and the full range of health disciplines are able to actively participate in the design and functions of new models of care – models that are truly responsive to the population health needs of all Australians.”

With more than 280 000 nurses and midwives in the labour force, this group is the largest health care workforce.

“While GPs often cite that 90 per cent of the public visit a GP at least once a year, nurses and midwives actually provide probably 90 per cent of the care to those utilising health services,” Cerasa said.

RCNA has actively lobbied for consumers to have access to all health professionals to ensure that all members of the population, particularly those in rural and remote areas who often do not have access to medical practitioners, are able to receive the valuable services of nurse practitioners, community health nurses, midwives and other health professionals.

“For true reform of the health system, there must be no gate-keeping or dominance by any one profession; care must be designed and delivered by a range of health professions. And that includes the formation and membership of Lead Clinicians Groups,” said Cerasa.

“Nursing representation advocates for patient, client and resident outcomes by providing nursing expertise and systems knowledge that is exclusively understood by the nursing profession.

“Under no circumstances can any other profession advocate or speak on behalf of nurses or midwives except nurses and midwives.”

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