Celebrating the contribution of our nurses and midwives

Between International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Nurses Day on 12 May we proudly celebrate the contribution that nurses and midwives make to our community and our health system.

Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, said this year’s theme for International Day of the Midwife is Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life. International Nurses Day is held annually to mark the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, with this year’s theme A Voice to Lead: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Federal Coalition Government deeply values the contribution of nurses and midwives in our communities. More than 315,000 people are currently employed as nurses and midwives in Australia – that’s almost ten times the size of the GP workforce,” Minister Gillespie said.

“Nurses work across a range of settings – from hospitals, general practices, to schools, prisons, community health and aged care – and play a critical role in maintaining safe, high quality care within our health system.”

Midwives also work in a range of settings and do more than deliver babies. Midwives everywhere play a critical role in promoting healthy women, pregnancy and care of the newborn in our communities.

Minister Gillespie said that with demand for health care increasing, the Federal Coalition Government is investing in initiatives to expand the role of nurses and midwives through increased workforce participation and capacity.

“Our Government is investing in areas of practice in nursing through initiatives like the Nursing in Primary Health Care Program, the Practice Nurse Incentive Program, and the 2015-16 Budget measure Streamlining Health Workforce Scholarships.

“More broadly, nursing is expanding to fill gaps and provide new types of care.

“This week’s Federal Budget includes $5.9 million over three years for an additional 14 dedicated prostate cancer nurses who will provide coordinated care and support for these patients from diagnosis onward. There is also ongoing support for the McGrath Foundation’s breast cancer nurses.

“Mental health nurses are also part of a more holistic approach to mental health care and prevention services, working to support people experiencing mental health.

The Federal Coalition Government has committed to support the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses to develop new workforce models that promote a sustainable and flexible mental health nursing workforce.

“Nurses also make up the majority of registrations for Commonwealth funded palliative care projects that enhance the capacity of health professionals to deliver quality care to people near the end of their lives,” Minister Gillespie said.

“And nurses will be integral to the implementation of Health Care Homes. This initiative will put the patient at the centre of care and will see nurses working together with the patient’s GP and other health professionals to develop a coordinated care plan to support the management of their chronic or complex conditions.

“Last year, we established the National Nursing and Midwifery Education Advisory Network to provide advice on planning, coordination of education, employment and immigration for nurses and midwives. This advisory network is helping inform policy and innovation to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the nursing and midwifery workforce.

“While there are challenges ahead, nurses and midwives are very well placed to play a key role in these reforms, which put people at the heart of our health system.”

For more information, contact the Minister’s Office on (02) 6277 4960

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