Nurses and midwives join allied health professionals against cap

Tuesday 9th July, 2013

Nurses and midwives have joined a growing alliance of doctors and allied health professionals calling on the Federal Government to axe the $2000 a year cap on tax deductibility for work-related self-education expenses.

The Scrap the Cap campaign has brought together professional bodies and groups representing nurses and midwives, doctors, pharmacists and dentists to accountants, architects, engineers and lawyers, in a bid to pressure the new look Federal Government to re-think its stance on the policy.

The change, set to come into force from July next year, will for the first time place a $2000 limit on tax deductions for professional courses and training.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Australian Psychological Society have previously voiced their opposition to the cap amid fears the move will impact on professionals’ skills and patients’ quality of care.

The Australian Nursing Federation has joined the chorus of opposition to the cap and warns the delivery of safe patient care will be compromised if nurses and midwives are unable to afford their ongoing education and professional development.

ANF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the ANF was deeply concerned the $2000 cap will negatively impact on the self-education, continuous professional development and post graduate studies of the nation’s nurses and midwives.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Ms Thomas said the cap would come as a particular blow to nurses and midwives working in rural and remote communities.

“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.”

An online petition protesting the cap has gathered more than 9600 signatures.