Hospi­tal roles need shuf­fle

Central and North Burnett Times - - NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS -

EAS­ING the bur­den on Aus­tralia’s most highly skilled med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als could save pub­lic hos­pi­tals al­most $430 mil­lion a year, enough to fund treat­ment for 85,000 more people ac­cord­ing to re­search from the Grat­tan In­sti­tute.

By al­low­ing oth­ers the chance to help do tasks that do not re­quire a doc­tor or nurse’s skill, medi­cos could spend more time do­ing more dif­fi­cult work.

The in­de­pen­dent think tank used Queens­land and Vic­to­rian pay­roll data and sur­veyed hospi­tal staff to con­sider how it could be im­proved.

Grat­tan Health pro­gram di­rec­tor Stephen Duck­ett said those with be­tween three and 15 years of train­ing should not be used to help se­date a sta­ble pa­tient or help some­one bathe and eat.

“That’s where we are now,” he said.

“Hos­pi­tals have to get more ef­fi­cient, or much tougher de­ci­sions about who should miss out on care will be­come in­evitable.”

The re­port found hir­ing as­sis­tants for nurses who could give ba­sic care would al­low nurses to fo­cus on other work.

Spe­cialised nurses, in turn, could per­form some of the sim­pler roles per­formed by doc­tors, help­ing them to con­cen­trate where they were most needed.

Mr Duck­ett said roles harked back to “the days of the horse and buggy”.

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