The Australian College of Nursing believes nurses will have a key role in the implementation of major healthcare reforms announced by the Federal Government yesterday.

“The reforms are designed to improve outcomes for people living with chronic disease or complex conditions,” said Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward, CEO of ACN. “This is a continuing opportunity for nurses who already play a key role in preventative care for people with chronic, complex and multiple conditions.

“ACN welcomes the Government’s vision for Health Care Homes, noting this is not a new concept to Australia. For example, the planned health care model delivered in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program has General Practice, Primary Health Care and Community Nurses working with the patient to deliver a well-coordinated patient centered model of care for the targeted veterans who have chronic illness and complex care needs.”

Yesterday’s announcement that the Government will establish a trial of funding reforms targeting patients with complex and chronic disease will build on and expand this highly efficient model of primary health care.

For many Australians, their local general practice is their health care home (over 90 per cent of Australians have a usual general practice) and nurses play a pivotal role in primary health care.

“Nurses and Nurse Practitioners will embrace the opportunity to be involved and use their scope of practice in the management of these patients and reduce the barriers patients face across fragmented health services, with the aim of keeping them well at home and out of hospital,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

ACN and its members look forward to seeing the details of implementation of the initiative and look forward to being a part of this exciting process which has the potential to make our health system to be less fragmented and deliver high quality care to the Australian population.