Community and Primary Health Care Nursing – a key partner for governments
In a position statement released today during Community and Primary Health Care Nursing Week (21-27 September 2015), ACN (Australian College of Nursing) identifies the need for primary health care policy and funding allocations to address the changing health profile of Australia’s population and identifies nursing as a key partner for governments.

Australia’s health care system should fully utilise the skills and knowledge of Community and Primary Health Care (C&PHC) nurses in response to changing population health needs, such as the increasing rate of chronic disease, an ageing population and a rising need for drug and alcohol services.

Kathleen McLaughlin, Acting CEO of ACN, explained community and primary health care nursing roles are integral to ensuring optimal health outcomes for people across their lifespan.

“Australia’s health care system has always relied on the wide range of community and primary health care nursing roles to provide health promotion, rehabilitation, education, and direct care to individuals, families and communities, often in the hardest to reach places and to the most marginalised people.

“Population ageing, emerging infectious diseases, the increasing burden of chronic and complex disease and health inequalities between Australian populations all require a community and primary health care response.

“The skills and knowledge of C&PHC nurses enables them to make a large and substantive contribution to the delivery of community and primary health care,” stressed Ms McLaughlin.

A C&PHC nursing approach addresses the health needs of individuals while considering the social, economic and environmental factors impacting their health, making the profession a “key partner” for governments in achieving an effective health care system.

“C&PHC nursing is able to respond to a wide range of population health needs because the profession is so wide spread, it provides a wide range of expertise and is able to reach such a high proportion of the Australian population.

“For this reason, C&PHC nursing is a key partner for governments and the community in actualising primary health care that effectively responds to peoples’ and communities’ primary health care needs,” concluded Ms McLaughlin.