The largest health workforce in Australia: You’ll want nurses on your side this election

As Australians prepare for the five-week federal election campaign, the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) calls on all parties and candidates to improve the health of Australians by unlocking the capacity of primary health care nurses.

‘Primary health care nurses are ideally placed to play a fundamental role in addressing the current and future needs of Australians,’ said APNA President Karen Booth.

‘Primary health care nurses working to their full scope of practice can improve the health of Australians.’

‘Not only do primary health care nurses improve timely access to care for health consumers, there are huge cost savings to our national health system for properly utilising nurses’ skills.’

‘However, they often find their roles are limited by funding models that restrict nursing input, and limited understanding among other healthcare professionals, patients and policymakers about their true capacity and professional scope.’

Australia’s healthcare system is facing workforce shortages, a growing ageing population and increased rates of chronic and complex disease.

The Australian Government plays a central role in supporting the healthcare sector as it reforms to meet these challenges and the health needs of all Australians.

One-in-four Australian primary health care nurses say they are under-utilised and could be doing more to maximise their skillset was reported in MJA InSight. Nurses working to their full scope of practice in high functioning, interdisciplinary teams means better access to healthcare, cost-efficiencies and truly holistic, patient-centred care.

APNA calls on the next Australian Government to support primary health care nurses be more visible, valued and respected, by:

  • Changing the perception of nurses’ value and to facilitate the adoption of funding models that support the optimisation of primary health care nursing in general practice settings
  • Improving the profile of primary health care nurses and recognition of the value of primary health care nurses
  • Improving the understanding of scope of practice to ensure optimisation of the nurse role at the individual, business and system level.

Health is a top priority as Australians make their decision this election. We call on all parties and candidates to commit to a healthy Australia with primary health care nurses enabled to work to their full scope of practice, to contribute to the health of all Australians.

For more information on APNA, see:




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