Access to healthcare a top priority in the rollout of registered nurse prescribing

News article

15 July 2019

The Ministry of Health's Chief Nursing Officer Margareth Broodkoorn has congratulated Nursing Council of New Zealand on the rollout of registered nurse prescribing.

In 2017, the Nursing Council partnered with Counties Manukau Health and Family Planning New Zealand to trial prescribing in the community by registered nurses.

Fifty six experienced nurses took part in the trial, having trained and prepared specifically for the programme.

Margareth Broodkoorn, who attended the launch in South Auckland, says it is pleasing to see the trial worked so well, both for the nurses and patients involved and the nurse practitioners and general practitioners supervising. 

“It speaks right to the heart of one of our core priorities in health of achieving equity and improving access in the system.”

“The results of the trial were pleasing and now the Nursing Council is expanding the programme beginning with all three Auckland district health boards and primary health organisations in the area.”

“The registered nurses safely treated patients for all sorts of health concerns - common skin conditions, ear infections, sore throats, urinary tract and other infections, and they prescribed medication for family planning, and to prevent rheumatic fever, reduce pain and manage digestion.

“During the trial, the Family Planning and DHB nurses consulted with almost 1,700 patients and issued almost 1,500 prescriptions,” says Margareth Broodkoorn.

“Patient safety was paramount during the trial and every single patient surveyed after their consultation said they’d be happy to see a nurse again at their next visit to their General Practice.”

“What’s more, nurses themselves say they felt very satisfied with the training they received, and supported while carrying out the prescribing.”

“Nurse prescribing in the community adds a huge value to our health system – it’s about improving patient access to health care; reducing the administration burden on clinics and making health care cheaper to access."

“Just last year the Government passed new legislation broadening the scope of practice for Nurse Practitioners and other health professionals. The decision to roll out an expansion of Registered Nurse prescribing in the community now complements the great work already underway by Nurse Pracitioners.”

“It was clear from the evaluation that the nurses involved in the trial knew they were complementing busy services, reducing delays for patients, and helping to relieve the pressure General Practices often come under. At the roll out the nurses expressed they felt a sense of pride and worth in being able to offer a holistic approach to family and whanau health care.” 

“It ultimately means more people have improved access to health care, and as the Chief Nursing Officer, this is something I fully support."

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