More support for Nurse Practitioners could ease local GP crisis

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is calling on the Federal Government to adopt the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce Recommendations for Nurse Practitioners, in a bid to ease pressures on local GP clinics.

“Greater access to Nurse Practitioners across Central Victoria would relieve pressures on local GPs and emergency waiting rooms.

“I am hearing weekly from community members and health practitioners that there is a GP shortage in our region and that there are long waits to get an appointment with a GP,” Chesters said.

“We need a new approach to solve the crisis; our community deserves access to affordable and high quality healthcare.”

“I believe improved access to Nurse Practitioner services across Central Victoria could be part of the solution.”

The MBS Review Taskforce recommendations from the Nurse Practitioners Reference Group would increase access to quality healthcare for our community and lead to wider health improvements into the future.

“I support these recommendations, and encourage the Federal Liberal Government to do the same,” Chesters said.

 The recommendations for focus on the following areas:

  • Enabling much greater access to timely and appropriate care, especially in Aged Care and Rural and Remote areas
  • Enabling access to preventative care and early intervention in disease management
  • Enabling patients to access rebates for procedures and a wider range of services provided by Nurse Practitioners
  • Enabling Nurse Practitioners to work to full scope of practice, especially in areas of Australia where communities have poor, or reduced access to health services
  • Enabling Nurse Practitioners to integrate further into Primary Care
  • Reducing fragmentation of care, encouraging true collaboration between health professionals, and reducing delays, duplication of services and inefficiencies
  • Removal of artificial barriers to practice, which currently limit access to Nurse Practitioners services

President of the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners, Leanne Boase said they hope the MBS review will lead to a significant increase in access to Nurse Practitioners services.

 “This will assist Nurse Practitioners to further work towards addressing the gaps in health services, and the health of our community.

 “These recommendations will enable greater access to timely, affordable, and appropriate care, especially in aged care and rural and remote areas.

 “Nurse Practitioners maximise opportunities for health education, prevention and early intervention in chronic disease, with longer consultations, advanced assessment, and person centred care.