Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nursing and Midwifery Stakeholder Reference Group

I attended the first Stakeholder reference Group for the Department of Health and Ageing on 14 November 08.
Rosemary Bryant explained that the main purpose of the group is to provide a means for two-way exchange of information and advice between the CNMO and key nursing and midwifery experts. Members of the group are representatives of their respective organisations.

Maternity services review
Over 900 submissions have been received. The submissions have been prepared by consumers, health professionals and peak bodies.
The Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer (CNMO), Rosemary Bryant, commented that there were lots of areas of agreement across the submissions including the importance of continuity of care, support for midwifery led models, and indemnity issues facing midwives. The Department is currently analysing the submissions and writing a report for the Minister of Heath, Nicola Roxon. It is up to the Minister whether this report will be made public. I think that this is a very important document that would contribute significantly to that this become a public document.

There was considerable discussion of membership of the Stakeholder Reference Group. In particular, there was discussion of the need for aged care nursing to be represented. The distinction between community based nursing and residential facilities was drawn.

The place of Community nurses around the table was also raised. This is a significant workforce for consumers, especially vulnerable people. With our work at Health Care Consumers Association we have heard a range of issues from advocates regarding competency standards and scope of practice of community nurses.

One issue that affects the wider consumer movement is that there is not a professional association for community nursing. The ACCNS folded around two years ago. For consumers this means that we need to work across a number of bodies to raise any issues we may have about standards and practice. This includes: the registration Boards, the Nursing Federation, the College of Nursing and Midwifery, deans of nurse education, CRANA and chief nurses in each jurisdiction.

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