Video: Older Persons Nurse Practitioners a vital resource for communities
Posted September 06, 2017
Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has praised the work of Olders Persons Nurse Practitioners. There are only two currently in Indi. More are needed, but insufficient access to Medicare rebates is a barrier.
Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (13:42): Colleagues, today I want to sing the praises of older people nurse practitioners, who provide regular consultation in regular aged-care facilities, in-patient acute care, telehealth, and remote clinics. They provide exceptional support to an already heavily burdened rural GP workforce. I'd particularly like to acknowledge the only two older persons nurse practitioners, Steven Voogt, and Deanne Berge, from my electorate of Indi. Research from the University of Melbourne tells us that their work helps prevent hospitalisation and enhances appropriate referral paths for older people at risk of serious illness. These exceptional people provide a service that helps older people maintain their functional capacity for as long as possible and enhances their quality of life. It's a service that older people and their families really appreciate.
It's predicted that, by 2050, upwards of 3.5 million Australians will be accessing aged-care services annually. This growth will alongside a forecast health workforce shortage, including a smaller number of GPs who visit aged-care facilities—and particularly so in rural areas. But there's a problem: these nurse practitioners only have access to four MBS items and reimbursement remains really low, at 85 per cent of schedule fees. This creates a serious barrier to entry. We need more nurse practitioners.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the work of Helen Haynes in preparing this speech. Thank you, Helen.