APNA informs Inquiry into chronic disease management and prevention in primary health care

On Thursday 1 October I appeared at the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health’s Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health Care, representing the primary health care nursing profession.

As the peak body for primary health care nurses, it was a pleasure to work with a group of our colleague nursing organisations (CATSINaM, ACMHN, MCaFHNA and ACN).

General practitioners continue to advocate their role as gatekeepers for real reform. It is time to challenge the role all healthcare professionals provide as part of a multidisciplinary team.

At APNA, our vision is to support the views of our membership to contribute to a healthier Australia and healthier communities.

Nurses at the frontline are well qualified to take an active role in primary health care as we are active in all areas of the community, the cities, the country and our islands, and we continue to develop long term relationships with the people in our care.

In my address to the Inquiry I highlighted the need to support:
–  recruitment and retention of primary health care nurses in the workforce
–  nurses transitioning into primary health care nursing
–  the nurse clinic model as a successful method of dealing with chronic and complex diseases and the coordination of care.

As your president and also an independent representative of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, I felt well qualified and well positioned to speak on behalf of nurses in our sector and our members.

APNA is commencing work to deliver significant projects including:

>  Transition to Practice Program – which will directly support the recruitment and retention of nurses in all areas of primary health care

>  Nurse Demonstration Projects – established in multiple regions directly informed by health population needs

>  Education and Career Framework – to support the career trajectory available to primary health care nurses

>  Chronic Disease and Healthy Ageing Workshops – innovative face to face professional development for nurses in primary health care.

These important long term projects will be run in collaboration with the Department of Health to directly benefit recruitment and retention of nurses in primary health care and to support the Government’s initiative of population health driven chronic disease management and healthy ageing.

Our APNA projects promote a broader model of healthcare, providing the right care at the right time, keeping people out of hospital and caring for them on their return to their homes and communities.

The current environmental and political focus is well and truly focused on health reform. This is a time of change, challenge, and considered action and responsiveness from your peak body. APNA will be flexible and dynamic and continue to drive the agenda on your behalf. It is vital your voice is heard so we can best represent your position. Please continue to communicate your views with us at policy@apna.asn.au.

Our role has been recognised as the peak body for nurses in primary health care nurses and we are confident the Federal Government is listening and will make changes based on our submissions and direct feedback.

Kind regards,

Karen Booth

Read our full submission here.

Read the transcript of the Parliamentary Inquiry hearing here.

3 thoughts on “APNA informs Inquiry into chronic disease management and prevention in primary health care

  1. I agree with the previous writer – Well done APNA !

    Practice Nurses are well positioned to coordinate evidence based care to patients with chronic disease …..no-one in the primary healthcare setting is better placed to take on the role of Care Coordinator and deliver some measurable outcomes from a CDM program which “In 2013–14, CDM items represented over 5.6 million services and $587.6 million in benefits paid—a 16.4 per cent growth in services since 2012–13.” (McKinsey and Company, 2015, p. 48). In 2013–14, 48% (285,000) of possibly preventable hospital admissions were as a result of chronic conditions.

    To date there has been little monitoring of primary care performance and no real attempt to determine the outcomes of the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program, now described as the Chronic Disease Management GP services program, notably health outcomes and their relationship with health expenditure.(Australian Government Department of Health, 2014; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2014b)

    The Australian political environment has never been more right for Practice Nurses to be correctly recognised as the Specialised Care Coordinator in the multidisciplinary primary healthcare team…..we’ve been practicing “for and on behalf of” in the role for greater than 10 years !

    The largest primary healthcare workforce skilled and available to deliver cost effective, goal achieving, outcome measurable, preventative healthcare programs leading to improved quality of life for people with chronic disease, using a sustainable financial model, is ready and waiting for the call.

    again – well done APNA
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  2. Thanks for the comments Denise and Tracey. You are right in saying general practice nurses should be adequately recognised for the role they play as care coordinators in multidisciplinary primary health care teams. You are also right in saying primary health care (PHC) nurses can deliver cost-effective (and care-effective) care for people with complex or chronic disease. Hopefully the Parliamentary Committee members will come to the same conclusion and recommend measures to support the recruitment and retention of PHC nurses. – Simon Howe, Policy Advisor APNA
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