The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) welcomes the regional health workforce incentive announced this week by the New South Wales (NSW) Government but warned that a multi-pronged solution is required to ensure all Australians have access to quality nursing care for generations to come.
“I am pleased to see that the NSW Minister for Regional Health and former nurse, Bronnie Taylor, unveiled incentives and training opportunities for nurses to head to – and stay in – rural areas,” Acting ACN CEO Yvonne Mckinlay FACN said.
“This week’s announcement will be a starting point in addressing the complex challenge of growing and maintaining a sustainable nursing workforce.
“It is particularly uplifting to see an acknowledgement of the expertise that nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses can bring to the initiative. However, the ability of these highly skilled health professionals to provide specialised care will be hampered unless jurisdictions lift current measures which restrict them from working to their full scope of practice,” Ms Mckinlay said.
“I also welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today highlighting the visa backlog must be addressed to allow migration to be harnessed to combat skills shortages across the country.”
Ms Mckinlay went on to urge NSW and jurisdictions across the country to ensure all attempts to address the health workforce crisis incorporate the multi-faceted approach ACN has consistently advocated for throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the national voice of the nursing profession, ACN looks forward to working with NSW and all of the jurisdictions to take a broad approach to strengthening the nursing workforce and to ensure the implementation of this NSW initiative delivers maximum benefit for rural and remote communities. We are a non-partisan organisation and stand willing to work with all sides of politics to ensure the voices of our members are heard in the decisions that impact the health of all Australians.
“Nursing, Australia’s largest health profession, provides expert care across all sectors of health care delivery – including community, general practice, aged care, mental health, hospitals and primary care. It is vital that all Australians, regardless of their postcode, have access to these high-quality health services,” she said.