The Australian College of Nursing has warned Australia’s 10-year Preventive Health Strategy is doomed to failure if nurses are not at the centre of its development.
“We commend the Commonwealth on its commitment to improving preventive health care in this country,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.
“However, it was not only disappointing to see the nursing profession overlooked for inclusion on the Preventive Health Strategy Expert Steering Committee announced yesterday, but actually alarming in terms of the impact this will have on outcomes for all Australians,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.
“Nurses make up more than 50 per cent of the health workforce in Australia and the profession is consistently named Australia’s most trusted. This has led to nurses being a main source of preventive health support and advice for patients across the health care system.
“In fact, when it comes to the four priority areas of the Preventive Health Strategy, nurses are some of the most engaged and knowledgeable practitioners in this country. For example, advanced practice nurses, such as our immunisation nurses, are viewed as such experts they lead care teams and even provide training to other practitioners, including doctors.
“The exclusion of nurses from the Steering Committee is an abject failure in understanding how preventive health care is delivered in this country now and the role nurses will continue to have in the future.
“For any preventive strategy to succeed, nurses will need to have a major role, yet we have not been given a seat at the table.
“We have recently held our National Nursing Forum and heard from nurses around the country who are undertaking innovative research and changes in practice to improve health care for Australians, but our value to improving health care remains unrecognised at the highest levels.
“While each of the groups represented on the Steering Committee has much to contribute, they are being set up to fail without the involvement of the nursing profession.”
The Australian College of Nursing has written to the Minister for Health seeking a review of the Committee’s membership.