The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is calling on the Albanese Government to use the Federal Budget to implement historic reforms of Medicare, including funding nurses and midwives to work to their full scope of practice, to ensure optimal health outcomes for the whole community.
The Final Report from the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce was released today after being submitted to Federal Cabinet, with key recommendations for additional funding to allow frontline nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to deliver care in primary health settings, as part of a new model of multi-disciplined care for patients.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler, who sits on the Taskforce, said it was crucial the Albanese Government and State and Territory leaders work together and ‘not waste this historic opportunity for reform’ by ensuring that nurses and midwives are at the centre of patient care in the community. This will ensure affordable, accessible care for all Australians – when and where they need it.
“Highly-qualified healthcare professionals, such as nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners (NPs) and other health professionals, who up until now, have been unable to fully work to their full capacity, expertise and skill must be central to the reform of Australia’s universal healthcare system,” Ms Butler said.
“Nurses, NPs and midwives provide quality care in every setting in Australia including in rural and remote settings, where often, there are no GP’s. It’s just common-sense to allow them to work to their full scope of practice in these settings.
“With appropriate stand-alone ‘block funding’ for nurses working in general practice, people would be able to see a registered nurse for a whole range of health care and chronic disease management checks, would care, immunisations, sick certificates and health promotion and prevention, which would certainly reduce the number of people having to go to hospital for these everyday care episodes.
“We’re calling on the Government to back the Taskforce’s report and allow nurses to do what they’re trained and qualified to do for the benefit of the whole community, particularly in rural and regional areas, and other areas of disadvantage, where workforce shortages are having an even greater impact on access to care.
“After 40-years, Medicare just isn’t working as it should and must be changed to meet the growing demands of our fast-ageing population. The Taskforce’s recommendation for blended funding models, which will allow full wrap-around care for all communities are very welcome.”
Ms Butler thanked Taskforce Chair, Health Minister Mark Butler and fellow Members of the Taskforce for their input into the Final Report.
ANMF media release authorised by Annie.Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.