Universal health coverage needs nurses working at full scope

The major nursing organisations in Australia look forward to this evening’s Australian launch of the global Nursing Now campaign by Lord Nigel Crisp and building on this platform to establish a nursing workforce capable of meeting future health care needs.

“I believe that developing nursing is one of the single biggest things we can do to improve health globally. The energy, expertise and commitment demonstrated by Nursing Now Australia will make an invaluable contribution to our growing global campaign. We are united in our efforts to improve health globally by raising the status and profile of nursing and midwifery,” Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair, Nursing Now and Co-Chair, UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health said.

“Nursing Now has been established to empower nurses to take their place at the heart of tackling 21st Century health challenges,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said. “The contribution nurses do and can make to health care has resulted in the campaign gaining high-profile supporters, including the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

“We have long called for greater inclusion of the nursing profession in policy development and implementation. Nurses make up the largest proportion of our health care workforce and overall have the most personal interaction with patients, giving them incredible insight into the challenges Australia faces and the best solutions.”

Running until the end of 2020, the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, the Nursing Now campaign aims to raise the profile and status of nurses, enhance their influence and maximise their contributions to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to health and health care.

“Compared to many other nations, Australia is fortunate in terms of universal health coverage through our system of Medicare,” Adjunct Professor Ward said. “However, access to the health system remains unequal. There are still unacceptable disparities in health outcomes for those on a low income, people for whom English is not a first language, those living in rural and remote areas, and most particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and the aged care tsunami is bearing down on us.

“Universal health coverage for all Australians is not possible without developing the nursing workforce and allowing them to fully utilise their skills and expertise.”

The Australian College of Nursing is the lead organisation in Australia for Nursing Now in partnership with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Council of Deans Nursing and Midwifery, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and CRANAPlus.

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