More than 5200 midwifery services and almost 29,000 nurse practitioner services have been subsidised by Medicare, on the first anniversary marking Australia’s major health reforms.
While the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners has applauded the reforms, the Australian College of Midwives has branded the system for eligible midwives “a failure”.
ACM spokesperson Hannah Dahlen said the Federal Government urgently needs to review the reforms for midwives.
“We have had very little success with it,” she said.
“It’s what we knew would happen. The collaboration always was the death knell with the eligible midwives roll out.
“There’s been very few successful collaborations; there’s been two or three that we know of.
“We still don’t have visiting rights to hospitals, almost nobody has claimed for intrapartum care in hospital.”
The November 1 anniversary marks a year since the government gave nurse practitioners and eligible midwives the ability to offer clients rebates on services under the Medicare Benefits Schedule and to write prescriptions qualifying for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidies.
The Australian Nursing Federation has revealed 402 nurse practitioners have now registered with Medicare and NPs have also provided more than 11,000 prescriptions through the PBS.
ANF federal secretary Lee Thomas labelled the expansion of powers for NPs and midwives as one of Australia’s most significant health reforms in recent years.
“This has been a long-overdue acknowledgement of the important role the nursing and midwifery workforce plays in Australia’s primary health care system,” she said.
ACNP president Helen Gosby said the reforms were a boost to NPs but more jobs need to be created for NPs in primary health care.
“We have over 600 members in our organisation. There are a lot of NPs who have got authorisation but still haven’t got jobs,” she said.
Ms Gosby said many Australian consumers are still struggling to access their local GPs.
“I suppose the government needs to create more jobs but it is also the GPs taking NPs on in collaborative practices and working together,” she said.