Incentive for GPs to hire nurses

COFFS Coast doctors will be freed up to spend more time with patients on serious matters under proposed health measures in the federal budget.

Reports yesterday were that every doctor’s practice in the country will get its own nurse to treat patients and co-ordinate follow-up care under revolutionary new measures in the federal budget.

Each GP will be eligible for $25,000, worth up to $75,000 a year to a three-doctor practice, enough to hire a full-time nurse to write prescriptions, make home visits and teach patients to manage their illnesses, News Ltd reported on Monday.

Chief executive of the Mid North Coast Division of General Practice, Peter Spence, said it was too early to comment but he would be in support of anything that helps general practice serve the community.

“We would support any investment into building up the general practice workforce,” Mr Spence said.

“But only if it is at a net gain to supporting general practice and caring for the community. At this point we’re a little unsure as to the details and if it is actually going to add any net gain to the sector.

“But if it’s going to build up the workforce, that’s great, we would most definitely be in support of that.”

The care they provide is expected to come at no cost to the patients and it will free up GPs to carry out the more complex medical care.

Currently, government incentives for employing nurses are capped at $40,000 per practice and only apply in places with a workforce shortage or rural areas.



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