Topic: The Nurse Practitioner “NP / GP” model in residential aged care – is this the way of the future?

Day: Wednesday 14 October 2020

Time: 1:50pm – 2:10pm AEDT


Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice nurses who can bulk bill, prescribe medication, order pathology and refer to specialists, similar to a GP.  NPs are a relatively new concept in Australia (~2,000 NPs in 2020) compared to the US where NPs have been practising for over 50 years (~300,000+ NPs in 2020).

The number of GPs trained in Australia is declining, with the graduation rate of GPs at its lowest historical levels.  Each year, fewer medicine graduates are electing to enter General Practice, with the shortfall taken up by international doctors.  As the COIVD pandemic continues, and the reputational damage of the Aged Care Royal Commission intensifies, fewer GPs will be willing to enter residential aged care.  
However, NPs working collaboratively with GPs can reduce the effect of diminishing GP numbers by acting as a multiplier effect – providing enhanced care to more residents in aged care.  One fulltime NP working collaboratively with a GP can double the number of residents under the GP’s care.  

Furthermore, GPs supported by NPs can focus on higher acuity residents, take leave and generally reduce their risk, while the NP focuses on lower acuity residents, care planning and communication within the home and to families.  NPs also improve in home care by mentoring and upskilling RNs and care staff, providing a career pathway and aspiration to high performing RNs.

HNS delivers NP / GP services to over 40 Residential Aged Care Facilities and over 3,800 residents across Australia, working collaboratively with the in-home care staff, the resident’s GP, specialists & allied health staff, and supported by HNS’ own in house aged care specialty GPs.

The HNS NP / GP service has delivered significant improvements to resident care by:
1. Improving clinical care
2. Upskilling RNs and care staff 
3. Providing continuity and consistency of aged medical care

Is the NP / GP care model the way of the future for aged care?


Darren Dougan is the Founder & CEO of HNS. Darren established HNS in 2016, and is a passionate advocate for providing improved levels of care to residents in aged care.

Utilising the unique skills of Nurse Practitioners (NPs), while simultaneously hiring aged care specialist GPs, the HNS group has grown to become the largest NP employer in Australia.

Operating across Sydney & regional NSW, South East Qld, Canberra and Perth, HNS provides a collaborative care model, where NPs become an integral part of the aged care setting, liaising with resident GPs and specialists, while upskilling and mentoring in house RNs and care staff.

Mr Dougan also has residential property and retirement village interests via his private company Sarazin Property.

Prior to establishing HNS, Mr Dougan was CEO of Hindmarsh, a national property and construction company. Before joining Hindmarsh, Mr Dougan was the co-founder and CFO of Rex Airlines, a regional airline based in Sydney. Darren also held senior positions at the strategy consulting firm Bain & Company, both in Australia and the United States.

Mr Dougan holds an MBA from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University Chicago and has degrees in Science (Mathematics) and Engineering (1st Class Honours) from the University of Queensland.