There is now more choice for you in accessing the health care you need, when you need it - thanks to a new Australian Government initiative to expand the role of nurse practitioners.
The Australian Government has introduced new arrangements to allow nurse practitioners to provide health services under Medicare and write prescriptions for certain subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
This means that nurse practitioners will be working in collaboration with medical practitioners to provide safe, high quality Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services and PBS prescriptions.
Nurse practitioners are highly qualified registered nurses that have undertaken additional education and training.
What services can a nurse practitioner provide?
Typical services that a nurse practitioner will be able to offer under the MBS include:
- taking your medical history;
- undertaking a clinical examination;
- arranging any necessary tests or investigation
- implementing a plan to manage your health care; and
- providing appropriate preventative health care.
Nurse practitioners can provide these services in a range of settings including your home, a health clinic, medical practice, and aged care facility, or the nurse practitioner's private consulting rooms.
This new initiative will be particularly useful for people who have difficulty getting to see a GP or do not have a regular GP.
How will I know if a nurse practitioner has access to the MBS or PBS?
When you make an appointment with a nurse practitioner, you can ask them whether they are able to provide MBS services and write PBS prescriptions.
If yes, you will be able to claim a Medicare rebate (the same way that you would claim a rebate from your GP) and the nurse practitioner will be able to prescribe subsidised PBS medicines.
If no, the service will not attract a Medicare rebate and you will not be entitled to subsidised PBS medicines.
All information in this publication is correct as of December 2010.