The Government has promised to extend practice nurse grants to all GP practices - not just rural areas and workforce shortage areas. The Government would also fund a new Medicare item number for practice nurse home visits for older people, including veterans and war widows, along with young people deemed by their GP to be frail. This initiative is expected to generate 800,000 home visits by practice nurses over four years.
"These initiatives would allow more flexible and more practical use of the combined resources in general practice," Dr Capolingua said.
"The AMA would expect more general practices to employ practice nurses as a result of these policies.
"GPs could delegate various tasks such as wound dressings and immunisations to their practice nurses, and where necessary these could be done at home.
"Practice nurses working 'for and on behalf of' GPs can play an important role in the care of patients.
"The new Medicare items for practice nurse home visits is very good news for older people who are still at home and can't always get to the doctor's surgery easily.
"Practice nurses could undertake routine tasks like blood pressure checks and monitoring an older person's adherence to a care plan prepared by a GP, when they are unable to come into the practice.
"The AMA would like to see this policy extended to cover visits to Aged Care Facilities, where currently only 16 per cent of GPs visit on a regular basis."