At the end of September I went to a meeting to discuss the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, being proposed for Australia. I must say it is long overdue that we as health professionals should be able to work in any State or Territory in Australia without having to pay different fees and register in within each State or Territory we choose to work in. At some point of my career I have registered and worked within four of our States, it will be nice to know that by July 2010 I will be able to register nationally and be able to work anywhere in Australia, this seems to make more sense. Consequently this will change the way our current Nurses & Midwives Boards will be governed.
The council of Australian Governments (COAG) in March this year signed an agreement on the health workforce. This agreement was the first step in creating a single national registration and accreditation system for nine health professions: nurses & midwives, medical practitioners; pharmacists; physiotherapists; psychologists; osteopaths; chiropractors; optometrists and dentists. This means less red tape and a more flexible workforce, greater safe guards for the public and will stop banned practitioners from registering in another State.
However with such a system comes consultation and changes; so, what are the changes and how does it affect us as nurses and midwives: I suspect for nurses there will not be a great deal of change however for midwives it will mean that all independent midwives will need indemnity insurance to be able to register. This is a huge problem for us. I know that the Australian College of Midwives is working to secure indemnity insurance for our midwives; however this is proving to be a mammoth task. The other issue that will prove to be difficult will be the complaints and review process, there are current discussions happening to resolve some of these issues.
I urge all of you to read the consultation document as submissions close on the 29 October, so have your say.