A New, Innovative Model Of Medical Healthcare Could Answer Tasmania’s GP Shortage
A shortage of GP’s means that many people are facing longer wait times to see a doctor and consequently poorer health outcomes. A new innovative healthcare model showcased at Your Health Hub in Hobart could mean patients get faster, bulk billed care for emergency appointments.
July 21, 2017 ( datsyn.com) – A common topic of frustration in Hobart is the difficultly in getting a medical appointment, particularly as a new patient. Longer wait times combined with appointments that are short and rushed leave patients at risk of misdiagnosis(1) and poorer health outcomes(2). Thankfully Your Health Hub , a clinic in Bellerive, Hobart is answering this problem.
Lisa Sproule, Nurse Practitioner and the Managing Director of Your Health Hub realised her vision to create a patient centred one stop Multi-Disciplinary Healthcare Service, with easy access to high quality healthcare.
Integral to Lisa’s model is the role of Nurse Practitioners in the front line of patient care. Nurse Practitioners have advanced university study at a Masters Degree level and extensive clinical training, which enables them to perform many of the functions traditionally associated with a GP including things like Specialist and GP referrals, medical certificates, prescriptions and referrals for pathology and radiology tests. This means that the GPs in the team are freed up to concentrate on the more complex cases that need a Doctor’s involvement. The remaining majority of patients are in turn able to access healthcare that is prompt and answers their needs.
“At Your Health Hub, a patient will see a Nurse Practitioner as the first step. If needed, GPs and Nurse Practitioners work hand in hand in the patient’s care,” Lisa said. “The Nurse Practitioners provide standard appointment times that are 50% longer than some other clinics and use their experience, advanced training and skills to treat common problems faced by their patients.”
While relatively new to Australia, Nurse Practitioners have been providing patient care in the United States since the 1960’s (3). The first Nurse Practitioners were authorized in NSW in 2000. They are seen by some as the answer to Tasmania’s GP shortage.
The Nurse Practitioners team at Your Health Hub offer bulk billed consultations for all Medicare-eligible procedures to urgent walk in patients holding a valid Medicare card. If needed, patients can then be referred on to one of the large number of Allied Health practitioners at the Hub that are expert in their particular field.
This use of Nurse Practitioners as the initial point of care has generally been supported by patients. Research has found that the majority of patients feel very comfortable with their Nurse Practitioner and would not choose a GP over a Nurse Practitioner if given the choice.(4) For many Tasmanians, this could be that they’ve been looking for to answer to their healthcare needs.
“’Patients at risk’ from length of GP consultations.” BBC 29 Aug 2016. www.bbc.com/news/health-37211590 Access date 17th July 2017
Prentice JC, Pizer SD. Delayed Access to Health Care and Mortality. Health Services Research. 2007;42(2):644-662. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00626.x.
“Information about Nurse Practitioners”, ” Australian College of Nurse Practitioners. acnp.org.au/information-about-nurse-practitioners Access date 17th July 2017
Parker, Rhian et al. How acceptable are primary health care nurse practitioners to Australian consumers? Collegian, 2012 20(1):35 – 41. doi:10.1016/j.colegn.2012.03.001