The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has expressed its disappointment that nurses have been ‘left out’ of crucial planning for Australia’s 10-year Preventative Health Strategy.
Federal Secretary Annie Butler says the ANMF is questioning why Health Minister Greg Hunt has failed to include nursing representatives on the Expert Steering Committee, given that nurses comprise more than half of the country’s health workforce.
“As trusted frontline health professionals, we find it very concerning that the Minister has excluded nurses from the over-arching decision-making process in achieving long-term health targets,” Ms Butler said.
“The steering committee cannot genuinely be described as ‘expert’ without nurses having a seat at the table.
“Whether it’s immunisation, educating people about the need for regular health checks, identifying risks for chronic disease or offering support for pregnant women, nurses and midwives are at the centre of preventative health strategies, as part of their normal daily work routines and are also expert in collaborating with other health professionals to achieve intended outcomes.
“That’s why the ANMF and our members find it disappointing that nurses have once again been denied a voice on the primary committee tasked with developing a strategy to improve preventative health outcomes for all Australians.
“Nurses will not continue to accept relegation to Sub-Committees and to not being deemed expert enough to sit alongside other health groups on the main Steering Group despite having equal if not more expert knowledge in the area.
“We are concerned that health outcomes could now be compromised by the Minister failing to include the expertise and knowledge nurses in the planning of preventive health strategies into the future.
“This oversight has clearly been recognised by the Shadow Minister for Health, the Hon Chris Bowen, who has called for nurses to be represented on the committee. The ANMF is now calling on the Minister to urgently review the Steering Committee’s membership and include representation from the nursing profession.”
Authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.
The ANMF, with over 275,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.
Media contact: Richard Lenarduzzi on 0411 254390