11 October 2012: The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) strongly opposes the further recruitment of US physician assistants.
NZNO professional services manager, Susanne Trim says, "We are disappointed that following a flawed and poorly evaluated 'demonstration' at just one District Health Board more US health workers are being funded and recruited to work in rural New Zealand. There are New Zealand trained specialty registered nurses and nurse practitioners who do similar work but who have not been considered for these funded positions.”
“There is no evidence that the physician assistant role is necessary in New Zealand, nor has any analysis been made of the financial or wider workforce costs of introducing this new practitioner role.”
“New Zealand is a small country. The case has not been made for the introduction of new, narrowly focussed health practitioner roles. Conversely the case has been made for flexible health practitioners with broad scopes of practice. Nursing scopes of practice are broad and provide great flexibility. Policy makers and Health Workforce New Zealand need to recognise this and support the best use of nurses and all existing health practitioner scopes before investing scarce health dollars in the introduction of new and narrowly focussed roles,” Susanne Trim says.
“This demonstration should not be proceeding without first establishing the need and considering the range of options (including nursing) available to meet that need. NZNO questions why Health Workforce New Zealand is funding foreign recruits and not funding nurse practitioners, who have a minimum of eight years experience and post graduate education. It is time these questioned were answered.”