I write to you from Ngunnawal Country where the leaves are changing colour as we head into the cooler months. This newsletter is focused on Australian Government updates and current priorities within the nursing and midwifery sector. I will highlight the work that is being done to better support our nurses and midwives who have worked tirelessly over the past few years through the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives and programs share the common purpose of providing resources to our nurses and midwives to help reduce the effects of work-related stress.
For more updates from the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, follow Alison on LinkedIn.
- The Government will consider priorities for investment under the $750 million Strengthening Medicare Fund in the May 2023-24 Budget. To read the media release visit our website.
- Western Australia will receive $11.7 million to encourage local practices to offer more comprehensive, team-based services with nurse practitioners. To read the media release visit our website.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the health workforce under a great deal of additional stress, in a context where healthcare workers were already struggling with work-related challenges including anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue and burnout. The Government has invested $1.7 million to extend The Essential Network (TEN) Project until 30 June 2024. To read more about the announcement visit our website.
- The Government has committed $29.4 million over 4 years to the Workforce Incentive Program. This will increase access to nurses, allied health practitioners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners working as part of multidisciplinary teams. For further information visit our website.
- From 1 February 2023, the Government increased the rural loading payments paid to practices in Modified Monash (MM) category 3 to 7 locations by 10%, up to the maximum loading of 60% for MM 7 practices. Further information about the program is available on our website.
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce
The Strengthening Medicare Taskforce met 6 times between July and December 2022 and considered ways to:
- improve patient access to general practice, including after hours
- improve patient access to multidisciplinary team care, including nursing and allied health
- make health care more affordable for patients
- increase prevention and improve management of ongoing health conditions including chronic conditions, and
- decrease pressure on hospitals.
The Taskforce provided a report with recommendations, which was considered by National Cabinet and released by the Australian Government on 3 February 2023. The report is available online.