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Sunday, October 24, 2021

MPs call on Morrison Government to act on mandated nursing levels in aged care

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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has commended Dr Helen Haines, the Independent Member for Indi, for putting forward a Private Member’s Motion in Federal Parliament yesterday (Monday), calling on the Morrison Government to commit to one of the key recommendations of the aged care royal commission, by ensuring at least one registered nurse is on-site in all nursing homes 24/7.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the federation was deeply disappointed that the Government had so far delayed action on fixing the dangerously inadequate staffing levels in nursing homes – the cause of so much pain and suffering for older Australians.

“The nation was horrified by the royal commission’s shocking discovery of widespread neglect and systemic failings across the aged care sector, which is why we find it hard to believe that the Government hasn’t responded to the Royal Commission’s most important recommendations to fix aged care,” Butler said.

“Unfortunately, with no national laws to guarantee appropriate ratios of qualified nursing staff and aged care staff, the suffering of our elderly will continue. Surely, the Government understands that.”

“The ANMF commends Dr Haines for holding the Government to account and standing-up for the older members of our community, by asking why the Government hasn’t addressed the crucial issues affecting the sector, including mandated staffing, workforce training and retention, improved aged care services for rural and regional Australia and transparency in aged care providers’ fees and charges.”

Butler said the ANMF and its members were also encouraged by the long-list of ALP and Independent MPs who had supported Haines’ Private Motion on aged care.

“Having a nurse on-site not only improves the care of residents, which is incredibly complex care – pain, wound, diabetes, mental health, cognitive, palliative care management – it also supports the carer work teams with timely advice and expert help,” Haines told the Parliament.

The ALP’s Federal Member for Cooper, Ged Kearney, is a former nurse and said having a registered nurse and staff and skills ratios is important.

“I am sick of the stories of neglect. I am sick of the penny pinching,” she said.

“Even as we speak and despite a Royal Commission, there is a list of major providers cutting hours and trimming their rosters.”

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