Practice nurse cost benefit analysis: report to the Ministry of Health

Published online: 
02 August 2010


This study uses the results of a literature review and data from nine New Zealand primary care practices, including general practitioner (GP) and nurse diaries recording details of more than 2,000 consultations, to develop a model estimating the financial impact of task substitution between nurses and GPs. Data were collected between July and November 2009.

The findings are clear that practice nurses can, and in some practices in New Zealand, do provide a broad set of primary care services, including undifferentiated general consultations.

The actual financial impact for a practice owner of substituting more nursing time for GP time is highly dependent on a small number of variables, specifically:

  • nurse cost per clinical minute relative to GP cost per clinical minute
  • nurse consult duration relative to GP consult duration
  • nurse consult revenue relative to GP consult revenue
  • percentage of nurse consults requiring supplementary GP time.

The report also includes implications for funding policy and practice owners.

Accompanying the report is a presentation of the study findings with audio commentary and a copy of the financial model in the format of an interactive excel spreadsheet.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    02 August 2010
  • Hardcopy date of publication:
    01 August 2010
  • Citation:
    Hefford M, Cumming J, Finlayson M, et al. 2010. Practice nurse cost benefit analysis: report to the Ministry of Health. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
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