Aged care loophole must be closed

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes has called on the federal government to close a legal loophole that might allow an aged care facility to reclassify high care beds as low care, or relinquish them completely, in order to avoid having to employ registered nurses.

Brett said the Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution had admitted that 29 of their current 51 residents at Waratah Village were classified as high care residents.

“Therefore, it is only right that registered nurses be on the premises at all times,” he said.

“Thankfully NSW law can still ensure that happens at places such as Waratah Village. Royal Freemasons was trying to deny it was a nursing home, as it only had low care beds after it recently took its 10 high care beds offline.

“Under current federal aged care legislation, aged care facilities can arguably get away with this ruse. It is a loophole that the NSW coroner recently noted with concern, after investigating a resident death at a similar aged care facility in the Northern Rivers. It is an unacceptable legacy of the Howard Government’s deregulation of aged care in 1997 and the current government should fix it.”