A healthier Medicare is an opportunity for nurses

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) commends the Government’s announcement today of an innovative approach to care for people with chronic and complex conditions delivered through primary health care.

The Healthier Medicare reform targets coordination of care through a trial of Health Care Homes where patients will register with one primary health care provider that will be responsible for their ongoing care coordination, management and support.

The strategy is based on recommendations from the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, on which APNA President Karen Booth sits as the sole nurse representative.

“This is a creative and innovative model that will allow greater flexibility in the delivery of high-quality care in the primary health environment, and forms an exciting opportunity for nurses,” said Ms Booth.

“Nurses play a major role in improving the health journey through preventive care, chronic disease management and curative care.”

This proposal aligns with APNA’s position that nurses are agents of connectivity* in primary health care.

“This is a model that will allow greater participation of nurses in caring for people with chronic, complex and multiple conditions; it empowers nurses in their contribution to chronic disease management and in doing so recognises the prominent role nurses play in primary health care in this country,” said Ms Booth.

APNA congratulates Minister Ley for making a significant step to ensure the security of a health system that will serve Australians into the future.

APNA acknowledges that whilst details of the design and implementation of this initiative are yet to be released, we look forward to being involved in this process representing the interests of our members and nurses working across primary health care in Australia.

What do you think? Tell us below.

*Phillips CB, Pearce CM, Dwan KM, Hall S, Porritt J, Yates R, Kljakovic M, Sibbald B. Charting new roles for Australian general practice nurses: Abridged report of the Australian General Practice Nurses Study. Canberra: Australian Primary Health Care Institute, 2008. Available from aphcri.anu.edu.au and www.apna.asn.au.

2 thoughts on “A healthier Medicare is an opportunity for nurses

  1. If nurses are to play an important role in this program then any payment made to the practice must specify how nurses are to be involved and the educational level required by nurses to undertake these new roles. Payment should only be made on documented evidence of the nurses qualifications and proof of their involvement in the program. Otherwise it will be business as usual with practices pocketing the payment with no incentive to ensure nurses are supported to increase their level of education or to up skill in the area of chronic disease management. Without a well educated and skilled nursing workforce outcomes in chronic disease are unlikely to change. Practices must understand that nurses can only run programs efficiently and effectively when they are given protected time for education and for planning and organisation of chronic disease management clinics. Trying to make follow up phone calls and organise recall is all to often slotted into the normal days work and there is often minimal or no time allocated to education. I realize that this post may not sit well with many nurses who feel they already know plenty about chronic disease management and don’t need to know any more but as an educator I say _ you can always know more and you won’t know what you don’t know until you learn it. And of course I admit I am totally biased towards life long learning and higher education.

    Tracy
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  2. it all sounds wonderful on paper but “what does it all mean”? “how can we put it into practice”? – this model is what we as a team are trying to achieve now. But trying to achieve it amongst the day to day “putting out fires” workload is quite impossible.

    If someone could sit down and help GP practices nut out the practicalities and provide us with step by step instructions then perhaps things will happen.

    I agree Tracy, there is never enough education and although I have worked 4 years as the only practice nurse in a busy 3 doctor surgery “I don’t know the half of it”!!

    Is there such a group of people who can sit and discuss practicalities? please put me in touch with them. I would dearly love to put something into practice as I work with three very wonderful doctors who could do so much to help our community.

    The government come up with these very good plans but is us who need to do something with it.
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