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Women face significant barriers in accessing abortion and contraception in rural and regional Australia due to a lack of local services, according to Monash University researchers.

Nurse-led models of care, including increased task sharing between nurses and doctors in general practice, is a key strategy that can increase efficiency and access to these critical services.

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Insight +, Professor Danielle Mazza, Dr Jessica Botfield and Jessica Moulton, from the SPHERE Centre of Research Excellence and the Department of General Practice in the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, found national and international evidence demonstrating that nurse-led models of care, where nurses play a larger role in medical abortion and long-acting reversible contraceptive care service delivery, are safe and effective.

They also found evidence that nurse-led models can improve collaboration between GPs and practice nurses, increase efficiency, may increase job satisfaction of practice nurses and have other direct benefits such as shorter waiting times for patients.

Further, the researchers argue that this approach could help meet targets outlined in the Australian Government’s National Women’s Health Strategy (2020–2030).