Opportunities for nurses and midwives welcome

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has welcomed plans by the federal government to modernise Medicare and overhaul the various models of care currently delivered by clinicians.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler confirmed the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce had been considering a range of options to enhance the roles of health professionals and help address increasing demands on the entire healthcare system.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said efforts to expand the roles of nurses and midwives to their full clinical scope and create new opportunities would be well received, given the workforce challenges over recent years.

“We have long been calling for practical solutions at the national level to address some of the constraints impacting nursing and midwifery professionals,” said Ms Candish.

“Healthcare delivery has always been a collaboration and it makes sense that any plans to modernise our universal healthcare system should encompass an expanded scope for clinicians.

“Nurses and midwives are integral to all aspects of care delivery. They are continuously developing their clinical skills and should be afforded more opportunities for growth within the sector.

“Expanding the scope of nurses and midwives would also help to provide better access to healthcare across communities, particularly in rural and regional areas where access has become increasingly challenging.

“Our jurisdiction has a mountain to climb when it comes to retaining experienced nurses and midwives, and we hope any changes at a national level will assist in addressing some of these issues.

“From the role of highly skilled Nurse Practitioners to the models of care delivered by midwives, there is plenty of room for expanded scope to complement the delivery of healthcare and improve accessibility for patients.

“We are seeing birthing services across NSW scaled back due to a lack of qualified staff. If midwives were able to practice within their full scope in community and primary care settings, there would be a greater incentive for midwives to work in regional, rural and remote areas. This would reduce the amount of travel necessary for women to receive care and advice.

“Allowing nurses and Nurse Practitioners to fulfill their scope would also contribute to reducing the burden faced within acute care settings, and allow patients to be seen quickly and safely within their community, rather than delayed in an overcrowded waiting room.

“These are practical solutions and we’re hopeful the federal government seizes this opportunity. Our communities need quality holistic care and nurses and midwives are well placed to provide this at scale in a sustainable way.

“We look forward to seeing the contents of the upcoming report by the Taskforce and any collaborations that will follow.”

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