The Australian Nursing Federation is calling on the Government to act quickly on vital health reforms and illness prevention initiatives in 2010.
Australian Nursing Federation Acting Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said new legislation that allows eligible midwives and nurse practitioners access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) must be passed soon.
“The Senate will meet again in early February and the ANF hopes the bill will be passed without delay so more Australians can access quality, affordable health care,” she said.
“This would not only improve access for consumers but would also provide long overdue recognition of our highly skilled and capable nursing and midwifery workforce.”
The Australian Nursing Federation has a membership in excess of 170,000, some 11,000 of which are midwives. Ms Thomas said, “Australia’s nurses and midwives have been waiting for this for a long time and the community they care for deserves this.”
“As 2010 gets underway the ANF would also like to express disappointment that Australia has yet to establish the Preventative Health Agency, despite the obvious need for work to begin in the areas of obesity, chronic disease, alcohol and tobacco addiction,” Ms Thomas said.
“The agency was supposed to be up and running by January 1 2010. We hope the Opposition Government will stop stalling and throw its support behind this important initiative.”
Another major priority for the ANF this year is Aged Care. With the May budget just months away the fight for pay equity for nurses in the sector is of vital importance.