The Australian Government will establish a new position of Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO) in recognition of the vital role nurses play in our health system. The CNMO will be a strong voice within government on all issues relating to Australia’s large nursing workforce.
The Minister for Health and Aging said with more than 200,000 nurses across the country, working in hospitals, clinics, aged care facilities and schools, nurses are the backbone of our health system – and deserve an official voice in the development of national nursing policy. This new leadership role comes in response to strong demand from the nursing profession.
The CNMO will:
- work towards building and strengthening the nursing profession as a career of choice;
- play a key role in developing a strategic and collaborative approach to national nursing policy across all jurisdictions;
- provide advice on key Government commitments, including our plan to bring 10,000 nurses into the health and aged care sectors through a combination of cash incentives and new graduate places; and
- participate in the development of our primary care strategy and midwifery review.
“The establishment of the position of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer was a Rudd Government pre-election commitment and another one they have now delivered on,” Jill Iliffe, ANF federal secretary said.
“Nursing plays a role in so many of the Government’s programs such as: health, aged care, education, mental health, Indigenous health, rural health and the MBS and PBS; it is vital they have a representative at a senior level in government to provide nursing input and link all the programs together.”
“It is also important for Australia to be officially represented in international nursing forums by their Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer,” Ms Iliffe said.
Ms Iliffe said the role will raise the status of nurses and midwives within government. The ANF anticipates the national Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer will be a part of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.
The Department of Health and Ageing will conduct a executive recruitment campaign to appoint a suitably qualified person. It is hoped that the new CNMO will be appointed by April 2008.