Australia’s largest health union, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), has called on the Rudd Government to exempt nurses and midwives from a $2000 a year cap on tax deductibility on work-related self-education expenses.
ANF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, warned that the delivery of safe patient care would now be compromised if nurses and midwives were unable to afford their ongoing, education and professional development.
$2000 cap will have a negative impact on Australia's nurses and midwives
“On behalf of our members, the ANF is deeply concerned that the $2000 cap will negatively impact the self-education, continuous professional development and post graduate studies undertaken by Australia’s nurses and midwives,” Ms Thomas said today.
“Given that it’s mandatory for nurses and midwives to continually upgrade their skills and professional development, we find it disgraceful that the Federal Government has slapped a cap on their work-related education expenses.
“As a result, safe patient care will suffer if nurses and midwives have limitations placed on their ability to continually improve their clinical skills and keep pace with new health technology, pharmaceuticals and treatments.
Safe patient care will suffer particularly in rural and remote communities
“Rural and remote communities, in particular, are areas of real need for highly-educated nurses and midwives.
“Nurses and midwives are crucial in the delivery of quality care throughout rural and regional communities, which often have very limited access to health services and even less access to educational opportunities close to home.
“Undoubtedly, this cap will prove to be a real disincentive for nurses and midwives who otherwise would be able to undertake their continuing professional development requirements for best practice outcomes for the community.
Increasing shortage of nurses and midwives in Australia predicted to be 109,000 by 2025
“Australia continues to experience an increasing shortage of nurses and midwives right across the public and private hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities, with a predicted shortage of 109,000 nurses and midwives by 2025.
“The nation needs to start building a future nursing and midwifery workforce to replace the current staff, retiring over the next 15 to 20 years, but putting a tax like this on the education of nurses and midwives will only make it worse.”
The ANF will join a broad range of peak professional bodies and groups representing accountants, architects, doctors, dentists, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, veterinarians, universities and post-graduate students, at a meeting in Canberra today, united in their opposition to the cap.
The ANF, with over 225,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.
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