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Hold on tight: change is underway.

A crowded agenda has been the hallmark of the new Rudd Government, including the health ministry. Like many other health care stakeholders, the ANF is being kept very busy trying to keep up to "Rudd speed" in order to engage and provide input to many of the current initiatives being mooted or rolled out.

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission is currently seeking feedback with regard to a set of principles to underpin the future health system and the terms of reference for the Commission itself. The ANF is concerned the Commission's terms of reference are too narrow to deal with the complexity of the reforms required. Major reform is needed to the way we fund and deliver services. This can only be achieved through thorough consideration of the best available evidence on which to base future health policy and informed by consultation with the Australian people about what they would wish to see in a future health system. The 2020 summit was a good start, but it was only a start, and now it's time to move beyond the insiders and make sure the voices of consumers and others such as frontline clinical health care professionals (eg many of you) are also heard.

It is hoped the recent audit on the rural and remote health workforce will help to bring about change; but more needs to be done to reform primary health care, despite the establishment of GP super clinics, which are being touted as a new multidisciplinary model of primary health care.

Unfortunately the GP super clinic is a flawed model and will do little to address the challenges currently faced in primary care. The model is not a new model of care but is simply a means of funding infrastructure for GP services. It continues to perpetuate the existing funding model of fee-for-service for the GP alone, which does not support true multidisciplinary care; can drive up costs; limits access to care; and fails to deliver comprehensive health promotion and illness prevention services. There are alternatives to this model of course, and the ANF is urging the government to consider supporting nurse-led care in primary health care settings. The evidence shows nurses can not only provide effective care with positive health outcomes, but nurse-led care involves higher levels of patient satisfaction and higher quality of life.

The ANF is also involved in the development of a paper with the Australian Health Care Reform Association to outline a vision for a future health system for Australia.

With a new government and the reform commission we have a unique opportunity to influence the future direction of health care in Australia. What are your ideas for the future health system? We would be pleased to hear them! Please email: fiona@anf.org.au

BY FIONA ARMSTRONG ANF NATIONAL PROFESSIONAL OFFICER
COPYRIGHT 2008 Australian Nursing Federation
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:professional
Author:Armstrong, Fiona
Publication:Australian Nursing Journal
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Words:471
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