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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Workforce representatives ‘left out’ of aged care advisory council

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The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has expressed its extreme disappointment that nursing and aged care workforce representatives have been left out of the Morrison Government’s new National Aged Care Advisory Council.

The ANMF and its members say they are now deeply concerned that workers will have no say in the advice the council provides, which could not only further delay the delivery of some of the Aged Care Royal Commission’s key recommendations but also, once again, see those reforms fall short of what’s actually required.

ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said the royal commission explicitly recognised the workforce as the most critical component of the aged care sector in ensuring quality and safety, and recommended that until the sector has a workforce with sufficient skills and time to care, aged care reform would not be achieved.

“Despite this recommendation from the Government’s own royal commission, it continues to refuse to include the voices of aged care nurses and workers in implementing the reforms so urgently needed to improve quality and safety in the sector,” Butler said.

“While we welcome the appointment of the new council’s members, who will have important contributions in guiding aged care reform, especially the geriatric medicine and allied health representatives, we are simply astonished that yet again, the Morrison Government has shunned frontline aged nurses and carers, and that nursing expertise has been excluded.

“This is particularly concerning when we know how desperately specialist nursing skills are needed in the sector.

Butler said without nursing experts, unions and other workforce representatives providing input into the advice, the council will provide to Government on the roll-out of the royal commission’s recommendations, the sector will once again fail.

“The Minister needs to reconsider this decision and allow for the expertise and knowledge that aged care nurses and workers can provide if the Government is serious about improving the quality and safety of the sector,” she said.

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