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Health Centres Key Primary Health Tool

15 June 2005

Nurse Managed Health Centres Key Primary Health Tool

Nurse managed health centres, staffed by qualified nurse practitioners, could form a key part of, and improve equality of access to primary health care services in New Zealand, says University of Auckland School of Nursing academic Professor Frances Hughes.

Dr Hughes says that while there are still only a few nurse practitioners in New Zealand, the United States has had them for decades, and they play a key role there in community based health services.

"Their nurse managed centres provide an incredible array of essential health care services to people in their communities, including disease prevention, primary health care and health promotion."

This week three leading American proponents of nurse practitioners will visit the Auckland's School of Nursing to exchange information about their role in community based settings.

The visitors, Tine Hansen-Turton, Director of the National Nurse Managed Health Centre, Donna Torrisi, Director of the Falls Family Practice and Counselling Network, and Professor E Sullivan-Marks from the University of Pennsylvania have received Eisenhower and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation fellowships to come to New Zealand to further the work of the International Nurse Practitioner Consortium.

They will be in New Zealand for one month visiting other centres around the country.

Dr Hughes says nurse managed health centres in the United States have played a key role in reducing inequalities in health care and are regarded as essential safety net providers.

"These centres provide accessible high quality and comprehensive health care to people who have trouble accessing care, particularly rural, low income, minority, homeless and migrant populations."

ENDS

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