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Remote area nurses: a vital force in health care.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

JOINT STATEMENT

 

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, TIM FISCHER

MINISTER FOR HEALTH, DR MICHAEL WOOLDRIDGE

 

Remote area nurses: A vital force in health care

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer, and the Minister for Hea lth and Family Services, Dr Michael Wooldridge, today announced an extension of funding for the Bush Crisis Line and a new First Line Emergency Care program to address training needs of nurses in remote areas.

 

Speaking from Western Australia, Mr Fischer said the Bush Crisis Line is an important service to remote Australia.

 

The Bush Crisis Line was established by the Council of Remote Area Nurses of Australia (CRANA) to assist nurses and other health professionals working in remote parts of Australia. The Crisis Line is vital to many isolated health professionals, assisting with clinical advice, personal counselling and other much needed support.

 

Dr Wooldridge said. “Without nurses and other health professionals in remote areas, many communities would have no access to health care at all. The dedication shown by these professionals is inspiring.

 

‘The Bush Nurses Crisis Line is available to help relieve some of the pressures of isolation experienced by nurses. It is an innovative and unique service, and we feel it deserves some long term security.

 

‘The second Howard/Fischer Government will ensure the viability of the Bush Nurses Crisis Line with a new, flexible, three year funding agreement. This agreement will include new money for a Bush Crisis Fund, to assist in personal emergencies. In total we will commit $550,000 over the next three years .”

 

The Coalition’s support for the Bush Crisis Line builds on existing initiatives such as the Australia Remote and Rural Nursing Scholarship Scheme, which provides funding of $600,000 per annum to help meet the training needs of remote area nurses.

 

The Coalition will continue to recognise the valuable work of nurses in remote Australia with a First Line Emergency Care program to be funded at $75,000 per annum .

 

The First Line Emergency Care continuing education model for advanced emergency skills and trauma management for remote practitioners has been trialed over the last year, and this new commitment will ensure that this valuable program can be available to more remote area nurses.

 

The First Line Emergency Care program will ensure that a mobile group of emergency medicine specialists, medical practitioners and specially-trained First Line Emergency Care nurses are able to provide courses of instruction in First Line Emergency Care to remote area nurses. Remote area nurses are more likely to be confronted with emergency situations commonly encountered in remote settings.

 

“A national First Line Emergency Care program for remote area nurses will assist victims of emergencies and trauma, and help overcome the professional barriers which prevent such courses being available to remote areas of Australia,” Mr Fischer. and Dr Wooldridge said

 

“The program would also overcome the barriers of distance and the difficulty rural professionals face travelling to metropolitan centres. Even when they make the effort, the type of training available is restricted and inappropriately targeted.

 

“Trauma and emergency events in remote areas are frightening and lonely events.

 

“Traditional team responses with a range of modern equipment and backup emergency transport such as ambulances and paramedics are just not available in remote parts of the country.

 

“Properly skilled remote area nurses offer a lifesaving option. We expect that this new First Line Emergency Care program will help nurses obtain the skills they need for these situations.

 

“Remote area nursing is a vital part of our health care system. Nurses are invaluable to all of us, but no more so than in remote parts of the country,” Mr Fischer and Dr Wooldridge said.

 

“We are very keen to explore other options available for rural and remote area training for nurses. There are a couple of good options on the table, which are under serious consideration. During the coming months we will work with health professionals, the states and communities to determine the best way forward.”

 

Sunday, 13 September 1998

 

Media contacts: Bill Royce, Dr Wooldridge’s office 03 9563 4073 Brendan Egan, Mr Fischer’s office 02 6277 7420

 

 

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