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Abbott Government's attempt to reinvent the wheel with health workforce reform



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AMANDA RISHWORTH MP

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR KINGSTON

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S ATTEMPT TO REINVENT THE WHEEL WITH HEALTH WORKFORCE REFORM

Revelations that a summit meeting will be held on health workforce reform later this year has made a mockery of the Abbott Government’s decision to abolish Health Workforce Australia (HWA).

The Australian today reports the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) will hold strategic discussions in September to debate how to improve the productivity and distribution of the health workforce.

But HWA was already undertaking significant work in this area with over 100 national workforce redesign implementation projects initiated to address these key issues.

The Adelaide-based national health workforce agency is being axed by the Abbott Government as part of their brutal Budget.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amanda Rishworth MP, said: “It makes no sense to abolish an established agency that was already making real progress in these key areas.

“These are complicated issues which take a significant amount of time to address, but HWA’s work to date demonstrates it is more than capable of ensuring we have the right number and type of health professionals in the places that need them.

“It is a complete waste of time to abolish HWA and then get other people to do the same work,” she said.

HWA’s work to improve the productivity of the health workforce includes:

• The Expanded Scopes of Practice program: Expanding the scope of existing health professionals in acute and primary care settings across Australia to help meet demand. The roles of nurses and physiotherapists in Emergency Rooms, nurse endoscopists and paramedics were expanded at 27 sites across Australia. • Aged Care Workforce Reform Program: Improving the capacity and

capability of the aged care workforce in all settings by redesigning workforce roles. The program was supporting 26 projects in 73 sites across Australia. • Addressing Barriers and Enablers to Workforce Reform: Examining the industrial and legislative barriers and enablers to health workforce reform.

HWA’s work to improve the distribution of the health workforce includes:

• The National Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy: Offering a comprehensive course of actions that address workforce issues in rural and remote Australia. • The Rural Medical Generalist National Framework project: Developing a

national training and career pathway for Rural Medical Generalists - a GP with advanced specialist skills. • The Rural Health Professionals program: Attracting and recruiting nurses and allied health professionals to work in rural and remote communities.

This program delivered 446 additional nurses and allied health professionals.

The abolition of HWA will see $142 million being ripped away from workforce reform projects, clinical training programs and national health workforce planning over the next five years. It also means more than 140 job losses, particularly in South Australia.

MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2014

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