23 May 2024

The Academy welcomes Health Legislation Amendment (Removal of Requirement for a Collaborative Arrangement) Bill 2024

portrait of successful nurse with team

The SPHERE Nursing and Midwifery Implementation Science Academy (The Academy), a specialised subgroup of the SPHERE Implementation Science Platform, welcomes the passage of the Bill amending the National Health Act 1953 and Health Insurance Act 1973.

“By removing the legislated requirement for a collaborative arrangement with a medical practitioner to prescribe Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines or provide services under Medicare, this Bill acknowledges the advanced clinical skills and expertise of nurse practitioners and midwives,” says Academy Deputy Director, Professor Caleb Ferguson.

The Academy is a collective of nurses and midwives with extensive clinical and research expertise, committed to advancing patient outcomes, healthcare delivery, and health policy.

“We recognise this legislative change as a significant milestone for the nursing and midwifery professions and for the broader Australian healthcare system.”

The Academy is encouraged by the alignment of this legislative change with the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report and the Nurse Practitioner Workforce Plan. These recommendations emphasise the importance of optimising the use of the existing health workforce to address, through clinical practice and research endeavours, current and future healthcare demands. By empowering nurse practitioners and midwives, the Bill supports a more efficient and effective healthcare system, ultimately improving patient outcomes and the sustainability of healthcare services.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Academy Director, Professor Sandy Middleton said that from a research perspective, the Academy believes this change provides an excellent opportunity to examine the impact of expanded autonomy for nurse practitioners and midwives on patient outcomes and healthcare delivery.

“The Academy is dedicated to leveraging its clinical and research expertise to conduct rigorous evaluations of this policy change. Many of the Academy members look forward to contributing robust evidence on the benefits of this legislative reform, particularly in terms of accessibility, quality of care, evidence implementation and cost-effectiveness,” says Professor Middleton.

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