College warns GPs to hold off collaborative nurse arrangements

The RACGP has encouraged GPs to delay entering into collaborative arrangements with nurse practitioners (NPs) until clinical and medico-legal templates covering a range of issues for practices are available. 

Under new laws that came into effect from November last year, NPs are now eligible to treat patients and prescribe medicines on the MBS and PBS, provided they have entered a collaborative arrangement with a medical practitioner.

The warning from the college comes as the number of MBS item numbers claimed by NPs more than tripled in their second month from 323 claims in November to 1058 in December.

RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson said the college was close to finalising a template for practices covering 16 key clinical areas to be considered in collaborative agreements, including the ordering of pathology tests and non-medical prescribing.

Professor Jackson said a draft was likely to be available for