· $6000 Rudd incentive for nurses a farce for Tasmanians

· Still no nurse re-entry course available in the State

· Tas Nursing Board take the money and run

The State Government needs to explain why there is still no nurse re-entry course available in Tasmania.
And the Tasmanian Nursing Board needs to explain why it is taking money from nurses for re-enrolment when no re-entry course is offered in the State.
Six months ago the Liberals asked the Minister in Parliament why there was no refresher course available, and why Tasmanian nurses were unable to take up the Rudd incentive of $6000 in cash bonuses (applicable since 1 January 2008).
The Minister responded that she was currently asking the “very same questions of [her] department … it is a shame if we have people in Tasmania who need to do a refresher course in order to come back into the nursing work force and they are not able to do so”.
Yet now we hear that twelve months ago a Tasmanian nurse paid $96 to the Nursing Board to have her enrolment reinstated and was approved to undertake a re-entry course, which has not yet become available.
Recently the Nursing Board overturned that approval, stating the nurse was inexplicably no longer eligible and that her only right of appeal was the Supreme Court.
The Liberals understand the Nursing Board has been taking re-enrolment fees then advising nurses to go interstate to undertake a re-entry course.
Interstate courses for nurses wanting to re-enter the profession can cost as much as $5000, while the Rudd incentive is just $6000. Why would nurses bother?
The Minister must explain to today why Tasmania is still without a nurse re-entry course, why the Nursing Board are taking re-enrolment money while continuously refusing to accredit the DHHS re-entry course, how many nurses have wanted to re-enter the profession but cannot, and why Tasmanian nurses are being discriminated against in relation to accessing the Rudd incentive.
Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services