General practices need more nurses

23 Jul 2009

General Practice Week 20-26

Boosting the number of practice nurses who work with GPs would help improve patient access to care, the AMA said today.

AMA Federal President, Dr Andrew Pesce, today used GP Week to renew calls for the Government to increase support for nurses who work in general practices.

A recent report funded by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute found practice nurses helped take pressure off GPs and increased access to care for patients.

“Delegating some tasks to practice nurses frees up GPs to spend more time with patients. Practice nurses are able to perform a range of clinical tasks on behalf of doctors in areas such as diabetes and complex and chronic disease management and preventive screening,” Dr Pesce said.

“There are currently 8000 Practice nurses employed in around 65% of General Practices. The AMA believes every General Practice should be able to employ a practice nurse.

“Only general practices in rural, regional and outer suburban practices are eligible for government general practice nurse subsidies.  Removing these geographic restrictions would enable more practices to employ nurses.

“The Government should also expand the scope of tasks nurses can perform on behalf of doctors under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).”

23 July 2009

CONTACT:

Kirk Coningham 02 6270 5477 / 0417 142 467