Health Practitioners Bill passes first reading

  • Jonathan Coleman
Health

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says patients and families will benefit from a Bill which will enable a wider range of suitable health practitioners to undertake certain functions currently restricted to medical practitioners.

“Our health workforce is evolving. Many health professionals are now capable of performing tasks that were previously solely the domain of medical practitioners,” says Dr Coleman.

“The current legislation does not support the future direction of the health workforce.”

The Health Practitioners Bill, which passed its first reading today, will amend seven statutes so appropriately trained health practitioners can perform tasks which traditionally have been restricted.

“This will mean more services can be delivered in the community, rather than in hospitals, and access to services will be improved,” says Dr Coleman.

“For example, only a doctor can sign your medical certificate for sick leave and only a doctor can request additional treatments or assessments for a patient with mental health issues.

“This Bill will also mean nurse practitioners caring for patients will be able to certify the cause of death. This change is especially important in rural areas and aged care services and will help prevent unnecessary delays for families.

“By enabling more health practitioners to undertake the functions currently restricted to medical practitioners patients and their families will receive faster more convenient care.”

Further information on the Bill can be found at: www.health.govt.nz