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New legislation to unleash the potential of the nursing workforce

Health Industry Hub | March 20, 2024 |

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) will use a breakfast briefing at Parliament House, sponsored by the Hon Ged Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, to welcome the introduction of new legislation to make it easier for nurse practitioners to deliver high quality primary healthcare for the community.

APNA President Karen Booth lauded the imminent reform, saying “It’s great news that there is real reform, and the government is working towards unleashing the potential of highly educated, experienced and trusted nurses.”

Ms Booth, a registered nurse and former manager in general practice, will tell over 70 gathered members of parliament, healthcare, industry leaders, and invited guests that “the Legislation being introduced to Parliament by Assistant Minister Kearney today to unlock restrictive collaborate arrangements is a great start to much needed reform for the community by enabling nurse practitioners to work to their full level of skills and experience.”

In a direct plea to government officials, Ms Booth urged for sustained momentum in reforming primary healthcare.

“My message to the Prime Minister and members of the Government is simple – today’s Legislation is a great start – and they should power ahead and continue with bold reform to primary health care which will deliver significant, tangible reform and unleash the power of our full nursing workforce,” Ms Booth said.

The necessity for bold reform was underscored by APNA’s 2023 workforce survey, revealing alarming statistics regarding the underutilisation of nursing talents within Australia’s primary healthcare system. Despite their qualifications and willingness, 30% of nurses reported rarely or occasionally working to their full level of experience, skills, or training, illustrating the urgent need for systemic change.

“It’s time to remove the barriers that stop nurses working to their full potential, skills, and experience, or we are simply wasting the resources of the 96,000 strong primary health care nursing workforce,” Ms Booth said.

“The healthcare system is struggling to meet demand and it is appropriate for governments to explore and implement new models of care.  Our healthcare system relies on highly skilled and trusted nurses, and this Legislation today follows the lead from the success of ACT and Tasmanian nurse-led walk-in clinics, as well as the recent announcement by the Queensland Government to fund four walk-in nurse-led clinics for women and girls,” she added

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