Nurse practitioners could ease GP shortage

Twelve months ago, a nurse practitioner (NP) in Pinnaroo, a community of about 600 people, began consultations under the videolink supervision of a GP 100km away in the township of Loxton.

The eight-month trial was hailed a success by the Country South SA Medicare Local (CSSAML), which funded it.

CSSAML chief executive Lincoln Size said the collaboration between the NP and the GP had enabled almost 1500 additional consultations over the trial period.

He said previously, the Pinnaroo General Practice had opened only three days a week as it struggled to attract a full-time GP, while the trial had enabled consultations five days a week.

“Patients [previously] would have to wait to see the GP… [and] this could take weeks as appointments were fully booked in advance,” Mr Size told MO.

An official evaluation of the trial showed local perception towards the NP improved throughout her tenure, and a study of