Australia’s peak nursing and midwifery bodies have released a set of joint federal election priorities calling on all political parties to work together with the professions to better recognise and utilise the workforce so it can support the health and wellbeing of communities.
Signatories include the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), CRANAplus, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) and the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP).
Key issues identified in the 2019 Federal Election Priorities cover the aged care crisis that triggered the current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Australia’s stillbirth rates remaining stagnant over the past two decades, increasing rates of chronic diseases, almost three million avoidable hospital emergency presentations in the last financial year and escalating rates of mental health problems.
The nursing and midwifery bodies outline numerous areas where they believe urgent attention is required to address “whole of life issues” to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.
- Increase healthcare access for the community by funding nurse and midwife-led models of care
- Review healthcare funding models to remove structural and financial barriers thereby enabling the community to access nurse and midwife-led services and allowing nurses and midwives to work to their full scope of practice
- Further invest in the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery workforces
- Utilise the nursing and midwifery workforces to significantly improve health promotion, increase preventative healthcare measures, and facilitate better access to primary healthcare
- Increase Medicare access and rebates for care provided by nurse practitioners and participating midwives
- Implement standards for staff numbers and skills mix which meet the needs of older people requiring community and residential aged care
- Better utilise telehealth systems to enable nurses and midwives to participate in collegial discussion for clinical decision making to benefit those for whom they provide care
Framing nurses and midwives as pivotal in delivering better health outcomes for Australians, the joint position statement says the nation’s 374,216 nurses and midwives must be allowed to practice to the full scope of their education and registration.
Nurses and midwives have the ability to provide evidence-based, cost-effective and comprehensive healthcare across many areas of the community where essential healthcare is not currently available if system and funding barriers are addressed, the document states.
The statement also suggests the three-year global campaign Nursing Now, which aims to raise the status of nursing worldwide and empower the profession to maximise its contribution to achieving universal health coverage, is a prime example of forward-thinking strategies aiming to improve health outcomes.
Signatories of the 2019 Federal Election Priorities are:
- Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN)
- Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)
- Australian College of Midwives (ACM)
- Australian College of Nursing (ACN)
- Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP)
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF)
- Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM)
- Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (CDNM)