Strong leadership is crucial for essential primary health care culture and change

APNA welcomes the release of Issues Paper Two from the Scope of Practice Review team. 

Media Statement 17 April 2024

Australia’s primary health care system is stuck and is failing to meet our growing health needs. 

The Scope of Practice Review is shaping a clear vision for primary health care and APNA recognises the Albanese government’s commitment to health system change through this review.   

Issues Paper 2 correctly identifies that “the future of primary care in Australia could be improved by supporting health professionals to work to their full scope of practice. There are numerous benefits to this outcome, including a more effective use of health professional skills, which will benefit both the primary care team and the individual professional, a better experience of healthcare for the consumer due to improved healthcare access and a more efficient care process.” 

APNA welcomes the considered approach from Mark Cormack and his team, which recognises four challenges to the delivery of primary health care in Australia: 

  1.  Poor recognition of the skills that primary care health professionals have 
  2.  Inadequate preparation [of health professionals] for primary care 

  3.  Legislation that impedes health professionals working to their full scope 

  1.  Funding and payment arrangements that impede health professionals working to their full scope 

These four key issues prevent nurses, the largest workforce in PHC, from working to their full scope of practice which is known to restrict consumer access to optimal care.  

The 2023 APNA Workforce Survey shows us that, of the 96,000 PHC nurses in Australia: 

  • Nurses who cannot work to their full scope are more likely to leave PHC 

  • 32% of nurses only occasionally, or rarely, work to their full scope of practice 

It’s time for Australia’s health system to utilise the skills, expertise and experience of all of Australia’s health workforce.  

Australia’s health depends on it. 

This issues paper represents another step on a long journey of health reform.  APNA will continue to work constructively with Mark Cormack, Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler and Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney and all those who support better access to health care to navigate the changes required to our health system. 

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

© Copyright 2024 Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA). All rights reserved. MRM by Bond Software.


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