ACN urges NSW Government to provide greater support for nurses to solve health workforce shortages

ACN Response to the NSW Government Special Commission of Inquiry into Healthcare Funding

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has urged the NSW Government to provide greater funding and support to bolster the nursing workforce to meet increasing health needs across the State.

In its submission to the NSW Government Special Commission of Inquiry into Healthcare Funding, ACN highlights how nurses and nursing deliver high-quality, timely, and accessible patient-centred care.

ACN CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, said proper funding and support for nurses would provide strategic and affordable solutions to health workforce issues affecting NSW, especially in rural, regional, and remote communities.

“The nursing workforce is the largest group of registered health professionals in Australia, with approximately 440,110 nurses registered in 2023,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“In NSW, there are 114,269 nurses currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board, which is 26 per cent of all registered nurses in Australia.

“The nursing workforce plays a vital role in providing safe, quality, and accessible health care across various settings and specialties, no matter where people live.

“Nurses are at the forefront of healthcare delivery, innovation, and research.

“They are also key contributors to health system sustainability and efficiency.

“Nurses are cost-effective while improving patient outcomes because they provide high-quality care that can prevent complications, reduce hospitalisations, and promote healthy lifestyles.

“Investing in nursing improves clinical outcomes without significantly altering the cost.

“The evidence indicates that increasing the number of registered nurses can lead to improved outcomes and potentially lower net costs.

“ACN recognises the challenges and opportunities that the Inquiry presents for the nursing profession and is committed to providing evidence-based and expert advice to inform the Inquiry’s recommendations.

In its Submission, ACN made the following recommendations to the NSW Government:

  • Provide financial support for nursing students while on clinical placement.
  • Fund specialised transition-to-practice programs in areas such as Primary Health, Aged Care and Mental Health.
  • Provide a range of scholarships for post-graduate studies in nursing.
  • Develop and implement a State-wide mentoring program for nurses.
  • Develop an education and training framework for nurses and midwives that supports and funds their annual requirement of continuous practice development.
  • Support Local Health Districts to establish a pathway and support nurses to advance their leadership skills throughout their career.
  • Fund the development and implementation of a Transition to Retirement Program for nurses.
  • Review the rulings related to the aged pension and increase the limit of secondary income for high-need professions such as nursing.
  • Explore block funding opportunities to support the stability of health care services.

The ACN Response to the NSW Government Special Commission of Inquiry into Healthcare Funding can be found here.

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