AMA & ANF clash over nurse practitioner rumours

Major newspapers claim that nurse practitioners’ patients will be able to access subsidised medicines in a proposed budget measure.

Patients of nurse practitioners will be able to access medicines through the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) in a leaked budget announcement, according to reports in News Limited newspapers.

The proposed budget reform could have a major impact in aged care where there is a widespread shortage of doctors.

However the Australian Medical Association (AMA) believes such a move could jeopardise the care of frail, elderly citizens.

The AMA’s president Dr Rosanna Capolingua said the plan demonstrates that the government does not value older patients.

“This is no place to cut corners,” she said. “These vulnerable patients need the services of nurses and doctors working in a team, not nurses instead of doctors.”

“We must insist that our elderly citizens, and the next generation of senior citizens, enjoy at least the same standards of care as the rest of us.”

Dr Capolingua said the only solution was to train more doctors and to assist patients to access them.

The unconfirmed proposal has been welcomed though by the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF).

“We will be very very pleased if this goes ahead,” said national secretary, Ged Kearney.

“It will mean more nurses will be encouraged to pursue the onerous task of becoming nurse practitioners.”

“For aged care it will be a huge reform. Patients will be able to be treated in a very timely manner for medical conditions that if treated quickly are easy to remedy but if left untreated can lead to further complications.”

Ms Kearney said nurse practitioners had been prescribing medicines in the community for many years but their patients faced significant financial barriers.

“All the research all the evidence shows that nurse practitioners’ care is very safe, very efficient and it comes with very high levels of patient satisfaction.”

Tags: ama, anf, nurse-practitioners, pbs,

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