It has been a fast and furious beginning to 2015. The biggest news of the past few days has been the Government holding off the changes to MBS Level A and B consultations after the campaign by primary health care groups gained momentum and became too loud to ignore. The funding freeze until 2018 and the $5 rebate cut are still planned to go ahead in July 2015. I have described the A vs B events as ‘holding off’ as these changes are not off the health funding agenda, but are being held over until further community consultation by the new health minister Sussan Ley has been undertaken.
A real opportunity exists here to review the delivery model in primary health care, and in general practice in particular. The Minister has promised to convene a meeting of key stakeholders in primary health care, but we can’t just talk about the funding status quo. There needs to be alternatives presented on how we can deliver care better, more efficiently, and how this might be funded. We know nurse-led care is a successful model used in many countries. We know that in Australia, clinics where nurses are employed to streamline care are delivering more efficient care and improving access to essential primary health care service. At many visits the patient will see two highly trained health professionals, but only the GP time is counted by Medicare. There have been some fantastic comments and ideas on how to better utilise primary health care and nurse care on our policy forum. We will be able to use these ideas to help formulate our approach to government. I urge you to view these comments and add your thoughts.
APNA also has key work happening on the education and career framework. Please go the APNAnurses Connect forum and give us your feedback – we want your ideas. We want to know what is happening in your working world and what you see would make your career path more formalised and more satisfying not just for you but for our profession. We look forward to hearing from you. The three discussion are:
Other exciting activities for early 2015 include the APNA orientation workshops for nurses new to general practice that will kick off in Sydney in February. For lots more info on the program and dates around the country visit our website.
GPNSW will be holding the Primary Health and Community Care Leaders Forum on Wednesday 25 February. The forum will focus on Integrated Primary Health Care: Vision & Reality and I will be presenting on nursing workforce issues. The forum is open to all professionals in the primary health care arena.
I look forward to seeing you all on APNAnurses Connect – www.apnanurses.asn.au.