The opposition to the introduction of these health workers mirrors very much what happened in the US some 40 years ago. Strident cries from the American Medical Association that their introduction would end life as we know it. But interestingly it didnt! Why the nurses are so actively against it is interesting but one would have to ask all opposing groups are they interested in opposing for oppositions sake, are they interested in providing health services to patients who currently find it difficult to access them because the workforce is not there, or are they interested in preserving the status quo with siloed health professional practice? The health service and its constituent parts is a very complex organism but every part of it should work together to improve patient care and not work only in the interests of the health professional or have I got that wrong ? The health and social welfare workforce is currently the largest in Australia 1.4 million and like the rest of the population, it is ageing. We will need to recruit about half a million new workers at least to this sector over the next decade a significant challenge that policy makers and politicians do not seem to be fully accepting at present. Where are these new workers to come from? Current recruitment will not achieve these targets so perhaps some innovation is required. Trials of new models of care have been carried out by Queensland Health and the South Australian Health Commission in respect to PAs. These trials, albeit small, did suggest that these new health professionals would be useful across a variety of health care situations.
Many Australian physicians not applying for permission to import Mifepristone
The use of mifepristone, which when taken with misoprostol can cause a medical abortion, was prohibited in the country until the Federal Parliament in February voted to pass legislation that removed Health Minister Tony Abbott’s authority to veto the importation of it. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration in April announced that it had authorized two Queensland physicians to import and prescribe the drug ( Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, 6/15). Mifepristone and misoprostol in combination is considered the best method for a medical abortion, the Age reports. However, Marie Stopes , an abortion provider, is testing methotrexate’s use in medical abortions because of the delays in approval of mifepristone, according to the Age. “There do seem to be more people out there using methotrexate and misoprostol than we were aware of,” Christine Tippet, president-elect of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists , said, adding that the application process to supply mifepristone is complex. According to de Costa, “several hundred [physicians] annually” in the country are administering the methotrexate-misoprostol combination or just misoprostol alone “under the radar.” Both drugs are licensed in the country, and physicians are permitted to use the drugs for purposes for which they are not licensed as long as they are effective and safe, the Age reports (Age, 9/18). According to de Costa, physicians are using the drugs to abort fetuses up to 13 weeks’ gestation in cases when severe fetal abnormalities are detected (de Costa, Medical Journal of Australia, 9/18). This article is republished with kind permission from our friends at the The Kaiser Family Foundation . You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report , search the archives , or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org , a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation .