New Nurse Practitioner Workforce Plan set to ease demands on health and aged care

A Nurse Practitioner Workforce Plan (Plan), which aims to expand the services of highly-trained Nurse Practitioners (NPs), will help address increasing demands for health and aged care and chronic workforce shortages across the country.

The Plan, Supported by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, builds on a number of reforms for NPs announced in the Budget last week, including the removal of red tape which currently prevents NPs from providing patients with health services they’re qualified and trained to do; a 30% increase in Medicare rebates for NP care and a new scholarship program to support registered nurses (RNs) to train to become NPs.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler, who was a member of the Steering Committee for the Plan, said the Plan outlined a series of strategic actions which would bolster the NP workforce and underpin the community’s access to quality, primary health care services.

“The Plan recognises the true value of NPs and how they can provide tangible solutions to the many challenges across the health and aged care sectors, which are impacting the delivery of timely safe health care, particularly in rural and remote communities, where there is limited access to a GP, or no GP at all,” Ms Butler said.

“Expanding NPs’ scope of practice and introducing incentives such as an increase in MBS rebates for their services could finally allow NPs to provide people with direct access to safe, quality ‘everyday care’, without having to go through a GP. This will remove unnecessary duplication, cost and time-wasting for many Australians in underserved communities and ensure they can access quality care when and where they need it.

“The ANMF and our members will continue working with the Albanese Government and our key stakeholders to implement the Plan, so we can start to recruit and retain our NPs and allow them to play a crucial role in the development of multi-disciplinary models of care, which we believe is the future of Australia’s health and aged care systems.”

Assistant Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney, launched the Nurse Practitioner Workforce Plan in Melbourne today, at an event attended by Ms Butler, the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners and other members of the ANMF.

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