A shortage of nurses is not a good idea for Australia’s healthcare system, the country’s first chief medical officer has warned.
“We’ve got a shortage of neurosurgeons, a shortage that we’re not seeing in our primary care hospitals,” Professor Robert Vyas said in an interview with the ABC.
A shortage of nurse specialists, the chief medical officers said, would create a significant challenge for hospitals and could “take a very long time to correct”.
“It’s not a great thing, and it’s not something that is sustainable over the long term,” Professor Vyath said.
He said the Government should not rush to appoint new nurse specialists without first taking a close look at the health system.
Australia has a shortage in neurosurgeon jobs and it will take “many years” to reverse the trend, Professor Vysath said, adding that the shortage was likely to increase.
Nurse shortages ‘not an option’Professor Vyshath said he was not concerned about the Government’s decision to expand the number of nursing posts.
But he acknowledged that the current nursing shortage was “not a long-term solution” for the health service.
If we do not solve this problem we will not be able to do things like increase numbers of people going into the workforce, he said.
“There’s a real risk that we’ll get the problem back with some of the existing people who are leaving the system because of the current shortage,” he said, referring to existing nurses.
Dr Vyshar said it was not yet clear whether a “new generation” of nurses would be needed, and that there was no shortage of junior doctors.
The Government has earmarked $5 billion for a new national nurse shortage program, with the goal of providing 1,000 new nurses to the health sector by 2021.
Professor Vyascas also warned against the potential of a shortage among nursing students.
While the Government has said it wants to increase the number, he suggested it was too early to tell how many would be added to the workforce.
We’ve also seen the numbers of young people going through nursing, he added.
Topics:health,health-policy,healthcare-facilities,government-and-politics,nursing,nsw,australiaFirst posted October 02, 2019 14:21:16Contact Andrew RundleMore stories from New South Wales