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Who needs doctors anyway?

By johnboy - 2 April 2009 21

Katy Gallagher has announced that her feedback report into nurse operated walk-in health centres has encouraged her to progress the idea.

    “I am very exited about the potential of the walk-in centres to provide additional health services for a discrete group of patients and to assist our GP and emergency department workforce,” she said.

    The first walk-in centre will be established on The Canberra Hospital site, with the exact model still to be determined.

    “We will then look at rolling out of a further two centres to come on line within the next three to four years,” she said.

    “It’s important to note that the walk-in centre model is not a replacement for GPs or emergency department care, but would provide another type of care for people with one-off, non-serious health concerns,” Ms Gallagher said.

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21 Responses to
Who needs doctors anyway?
peterh 11:46 am 03 Apr 09

for the sake of safety for a nurse in one of these clinics, and to reduce the response time for an emergency patient, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have one GP at each of these sites, to assist when required, for example, at a very busy period, or when a patient presents with something that is far more than a stubbed toe or sniffle? I just feel that the blame shift for this boutique project (thanks gun street girl) would have nurses getting roasted for things beyond their control, or experience. Could the use of an attending GP create a second level of support for the nurses?

I visit the TCH once every 6-months. I am operated on by a different registrar each time. I would prefer to visit a clinic to get this procedure done, but, as it is classified as basic surgery, i continue to play pot luck with the person performing the surgery, even though i have been informed by friends who are nurses elsewhere in australia that these procedures are performed by nurses in other hospitals.

gun street girl 11:32 am 03 Apr 09

Palin s Lovechild said :

Muttsybignuts would appear to be clinically accurate but the big bad bullies at the AMA would argue differently. It would be a turf would that nurses would loose.

Why even bother going to med school if nurses and doctors are interchangeable? Let’s not resort to the old “nurses can do just about everything a doctor can do and the only thing stopping them are evil doctors who just want to keep them down” conspiracy/argument – it over-simplifies what is a far more complex issue, and insults those of us in the industry who know that simply isn’t true. There’s certainly a role for nurse practitioners; but the implementation of them won’t replace a GP workforce shortage (though it would be nice for the pollies if it would – an NP costs less than a GP), nor will it find you any more beds on the wards (indeed, it may well make it harder). Redistributing a workforce that’s already in shortage into boutique projects like this one is a luxury the ACT can’t afford right now.

Palin s Lovechild 11:16 am 03 Apr 09

Muttsybignuts would appear to be clinically accurate but the big bad bullies at the AMA would argue differently. It would be a turf would that nurses would loose.

Hospitals would not be such a bad place to work if Stanhope would drop his lefty tree-hugging human rights agenda and ensure the safety of staff. I feel the human rights of the staff should be more important than the patients esp those who throw stuff. ACT Health have a duty of care to their staff, clinical or otherwise.

Medicine and nursing needs to be more attractive to students when choosing careers. HECS-free courses may be an option. Opening new clinics will just redistribute the statics numbers of GPs and nurses that currently work in the system.

National Registration of health professionals due on 1 July 2010 will be of no assistance with the current shortages.

Muttsybignuts 9:53 am 03 Apr 09

Great idea. As a previously registered nurse I know that RNs are more than adequate to handle most medical situations. If they cant accurately diagnose the ailment they will send them on to a Doctor or Casualty ( or whatever they call it nowadays).

gun street girl 8:59 am 03 Apr 09

There’s an excess who are disillusioned and burned out from working on the front line. They are already filtering into administrative roles; there will be a few who will be more than happy to move into a 9-5, Monday to Friday cushy clinic designed to look at sniffles and stubbed toes. Nevermind that it leaves their workforce on the ground even more hamstrung than before – am sure admin will think of a new initiative to fix that problem too.

poptop 8:33 am 03 Apr 09

So we have an excess of nurses who can be allocated to this new initiative?

What happened to the nursing shortage?

farnarkler 10:17 pm 02 Apr 09

This system works like a dream in the NHS in the UK. The staff are able to prescribe medicinces and deal with the less sick.

barry ottor 9:44 pm 02 Apr 09

this is a bloody good idea, most doctor’s time is spent chatting to geriatrics who have nothing better to do than waste their time. Get people in and out in quick time and watch the health crisis rapidly right itself. Why on earth a 10 year trained doctor is required to renew prescriptions for birth control pills is beyond me!?

gun street girl 9:23 pm 02 Apr 09

Danman said :

Easy to open the beds up, but you kind of need staff to attend them as well..

Exactly. We’ll also need nurses to staff these new clinics – nurses who could be working the wards, thusly opening beds. Instead, we’re most likely going to see the wards losing nurses to this new clinic, which isn’t a solution to bed block or a GP shortage.

Maybe they need more incentives for hospital staff, it seems that regularly having your life threatened, being swung at, having walking sticks swung at you, kicked in the neck, kicked in the chest and verbally abused isn’t enough.

I would risk that hopitals are the most dangerous place to work.

The threat of physical, verbal and mental abuse is really only the tip of the iceberg. There are heaps of other, equally compelling reasons to leave.

GS girl – what do you think she should be doing?

I actually think this isn’t a bad idea. If the problem is just bronchitis, or baby with a temperature, I’d rather see a nurse today, than my GP in 4 days, which is the current situation.

Succinctly, she shouldn’t be trying to replace a service (critical GP shortage) with a new (potentially outgunned) service that siphons from a workforce that is already in shortage itself. Not enough GPs? Endeavour to employ more. Provide incentives for GPs to locate to the ACT, and for those already here to stay in practice. With regards to a nurse clinic taking the pressure off the ED (which is the real political crux of the issue), it won’t. The pressure on ED comes from access block, and access block is NOT caused by an excess of GP type patients presenting to the ED. It’s caused by a lack of beds. Period.

sepi 9:05 pm 02 Apr 09

GS girl – what do you think she should be doing?

I actually think this isn’t a bad idea. If the problem is just bronchitis, or baby with a temperature, I’d rather see a nurse today, than my GP in 4 days, which is the current situation.

Danman 8:48 pm 02 Apr 09

hospitals as well.

Danman 8:47 pm 02 Apr 09

Easy to open the beds up, but you kind of need staff to attend them as well..

Maybe they need more incentives for hospital staff, it seems that regularly having your life threatened, being swung at, having walking sticks swung at you, kicked in the neck, kicked in the chest and verbally abused isn’t enough.

I would risk that hopitals are the most dangerous place to work.

gun street girl 6:54 pm 02 Apr 09

Daresay she’s excited to have found yet another project to deflect attention away from the real problems (and their rather expensive, inconvenient solutions).

Primal 6:50 pm 02 Apr 09

“Very exited”? What, is it a bowel looseningly good policy???

gun street girl 6:37 pm 02 Apr 09

FFS: just open more bloody beds instead of funding these stupid schemes, Katy. It’s not rocket science.

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