6 August 2013:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) welcomes the Government’s announcement that the General Medical Subsidy (GMS) will be extended to nurses and nurse practitioners. Pharmacists will also become eligible for the subsidy.
The General Medical Subsidy is a per capita sum paid by Government to GPs for seeing certain groups of patients. Patients may also be charged a co-payment. Until now only GPs could access the subsidy.
NZNO associate professional services manager, Hilary Graham Smith says, “This is a significant change. Twelve years on from the release of the Primary Health Care Strategy we are finally moving past the rhetoric into a place where nursing can rightfully take its place as a lead provider of primary health care services. For nursing this is about ensuring our communities have timely access to primary health care services.”
“The subsidy also means the General Practices can now work smarter. Until now, even when nurses have provided the health care, doctors would have to “pop their head into the room” in order to apply for the funding. Nurses working in primary health organisations will now be able to be able to access the funding and doctors will be freed up to do their work.”
“NZNO believes the change has the potential to change how New Zealanders receive their health care. The nursing profession has plenty to contribute in delivery of care in primary health care settings. Their involvement in this work is a step in the right direction. We thank the Minister of Health for seeing the big picture and making the right decision,” Ms Graham-Smith says.