In order to meet the growing demand for medical staff, it has been proposed to extend the Medicare payments to other health professionals. The role, currently played by nurses, podiatrist surgeons and other allied health professionals would be further extended to accomodate them into vacant postitions.
It has led to mixed reactions from doctors and other health professionals. The proposal would be taken up for consideration during the meeting of the Australian Government Council, scheduled to take place next month.
Mike Woods, the presiding commissioner of the inquiry has expressed that any barrier related to shortage of workforce should be broken down without any hesitation. He has also expressed hope that quality medical services provided by doctors can be satisfactorily provided by allied health care workers without a compromise on the safety.
"We are not going to fix the problem in tomorrow's emergency wards, but we hope that in 10 years' time, we have nurses who are doing wound closures because they are trained to take on that extra role, or physios doing triage, for example," said Mike Woods.
This proposed extension is hoped to reduce the pressure associated with health care delivery. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is against the incorporation of non-doctors into the system. The health minister of New South Wales (NSW) has however, welcomed such a move as he firmly belives that such looming inadequacies can only be met with creation of an apppropriate work force and effective distribution of work.
"While I'm disappointed the study does not offer specific strategies to solve workforce shortages, this committee has the opportunity to bring a new level of transparency and independence to decisions about Medicare-funded services, " concluded John Hatzistergos.
In view of the above situation, it would be a period of watchful waiting for both doctors and paramedical proffesionals before any such proposal can be implemented.