Page 2968 - Week 08 - Thursday, 15 August 2019

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Health Amendment Bill 2019

Ms Stephen-Smith, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Minister for Disability, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Minister for Health and Minister for Urban Renewal) (10.22): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Madam Speaker, nurse practitioners are a highly valued component of the ACT health workforce. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse experienced in their clinical specialty, educated at master’s level and endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to provide patient care in an advanced and extended clinical role.

Nurse practitioners emerged as a health profession in the 1990s. The ACT introduced the Health Regulation 2004 to provide the necessary regulatory and policy governance structure. Subsequently the national registrations and accreditation scheme was introduced, in 2010. This scheme, through the auspices of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, implemented robust regulatory arrangements for all registered health professionals, including nurse practitioners.

The ACT government commissioned the first independent review of governance arrangements for nurse practitioners in the ACT in 2017. The report Nurse practitioners in the Australian Capital Territory in 2017: a review: practical and contemporary governance arrangements for the quality and safety of care for the community highlighted the value of nurse-led models of health care. It also identified the need for reform of existing nurse practitioner governance in the ACT. Specifically, it noted that the existing governance and policy infrastructure duplicated other regulatory responsibilities and increased the financial and administrative burden for consumers, employer organisations and individual nurse practitioners.

A key recommendation of the report was to repeal Health Regulation 2004. This occurred during 2018. We are now at the next step to formalise the clinical governance arrangements of nurse practitioners; that is, to include the term “nurse practitioner” in part 5 of the Health Act 1993.

This amendment, proposed by the Health Amendment Bill 2019, will allow the scope of clinical practice of nurse practitioners in the ACT to be reviewed and credentialed for clinical privileges by a scope of clinical practice committee. This amendment aligns the ACT government with the clinical governance standard of 2017 of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and the national safety and quality health service standards guide for hospitals. The proposal will reduce regulatory and administrative duplication in relation to the governance of nurse

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