26 September 2023

First national plan to upgrade primary health

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The Department of Health and Aged Care has launched an Australian-first plan to strengthen and enhance multidisciplinary, person-centred care in primary health.

Welcoming the Nurse Practitioner Workforce Plan, the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney said the plan offered a clear vision on how to better use nurse practitioners (NP) to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.

“Nurse practitioners are highly skilled and have the experience and authority to provide clinical care for acute and chronic conditions across a lifespan,” Ms Kearney said.

“However, there has never been a national approach to the best use of this workforce or supporting it to grow,” she said.

“The Plan sets out actions to increase nurse practitioner services across the country, increasing community awareness and knowledge of what services nurse practitioners can provide, and to grow the workforce to reflect the diversity of the community and improve cultural safety.”

Ms Kearney said the Plan also addressed the significant barriers that had prevented nurse practitioners from performing all the duties they’re trained to do.

She said it provided strategic directions for the next 10 years and detailed how to remove barriers currently facing the workforce and build workforce numbers.

The Minister said the Plan was focused around four overarching outcomes: Increasing NP services across the country; Improving community awareness and knowledge of NP services; Support for NPs to work to their full scope of practice; and Growing the NP workforce to reflect the diversity of the community and improve cultural safety.

The Department’s 62-page plan can be accessed at this PS News link.

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