Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3203 ..
MR STANHOPE: I move:
Omit all words after "That", substitute the following:
"this Assembly notes the ACT government has conducted a nurse practitioner trial to examine an accreditation program and has undertaken to report to the Assembly when the evaluation of the trial is complete.".
MS DUNDAS (11.34): It is disappointing that the government and, through the government, the Assembly are still awaiting the outcome of the ACT nurse practitioner trial. Information from the government said that the report would be available in May 2002. It is now September 2002, and I have been told repeatedly over the last month that the report would be available soon. We hear again today that the report will be available soon.
The intent of my original motion was not to pre-empt any outcome but to get things moving. The government has made much about their increased spending in health since starting their term. Almost one year into their term we have not seen any outcomes.
The motion notes that the ACT government has conducted a nurse practitioner trial and calls on the government to report to the Assembly when the evaluation of the trial is complete. That is what I would think the government would do anyway. A motion calling on the government to do its job seems a little unnecessary.
The intent of my original motion was to call on the government to have a nurse practitioner program. The style and scope of that program was not defined or confined by the original motion. It left room when the final report was available, a report that was meant to be available in May, to determine how the ACT model would operate and what it would look like. In the meantime, we could look at immediate solutions to the problems and crises facing the ACT community.
As the Chief Minister has said, we are suffering a huge GP shortage. Over the last 12 months we have seen a lot of problems in the ACT with regard to nurses, their pay and the respect they are afforded. The nurse practitioners scheme, which was first established as a trial in the ACT in 1999, is a way of ensuring that nurses feel valued and respected and allowed to do the job they know they can do to help care for the people of the ACT.
Let us get something done. Let us take the information from the report and use it to build a nurse practitioner scheme for the ACT. The amendment moved by Mr Stanhope does not talk about getting anything done. Mr Stanhope made the comment that just because New South Wales have done it we do not necessarily know that it would be right for the ACT. That is why my motion talks about it being similar in scope. That could be redefined by the outcome of the trial.
I am committed to seeing a nurse practitioner program work here in the ACT. The reports from our trial show that it works. The moves taken in New South Wales and Victoria show that it works. If we follow New South Wales or Victoria's lead in other areas of legislation, why can we not do it in our health care system with nurse practitioners and something that works?