Call for guidelines to govern HCAs' work.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Medical assistants (Practice)
Medical assistants (Laws, regulations and rules)
Practice guidelines (Medicine)
Pub Date: 08/01/2010
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 236247980
Full Text: Nurses want national guidelines on the use of unregulated health care workers who work in the community, including in general practices.

NZNO professional nursing adviser Kate Weston says nurses support innovation in community health care but not at the expense of patient and professional safety. "Any clinical work involving unregulated health care assistants (HCAs) must be very carefully managed to protect public safety," she said.

A TVNZ news item Last month, prompted by Weston's professional focus in Last month's Kai Tiaki, featured a south Auckland GP who uses a receptionist to undertake patient assessments and basic health checks, and advocates that HCAs could be undertaking this role. "HCAs and receptionists are unregulated. Nurses and doctors are regulated which means they work within specific scopes of practice and are bound by Legislation to protect patients and the public. But these Legislative protections do not apply to HCAs or receptionists," Weston said.

She called for nationally agreed standards to govern the work of HCAs in the community.

NZNO is currently working with District Health Boards New Zealand to develop national guidelines for HCAs working in hospitals.

Weston believes guidelines for HCAs working in the community were also essential NZNO had the willingness and the expertise within its 2000-strong College of Primary Health Care Nurses to work with GPs and other relevant groups to help develop such guidelines.
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