Saturday 25th April 2009
More aged care nursing staff with the right mix of nursing skills and increased Federal Government funding are the main objectives of a national aged care campaign launched by the ANF.
In March, the ANF launched its landmark national aged care campaign, Because We Care, at Parliament House, Canberra.
The first national and the largest campaign ever undertaken by the ANF, the launch drew a host of politicians, industry providers, advocacy groups, aged care workers, residents, relatives and most of the national media.
The turnout of such a comprehensive cross-section of stakeholders and observers reflected the ANF’s desire to bring all parties to the table to resolve the key problems facing the industry and to reform the sector.
ANF Federal Secretary Ged Kearney said the campaign aims to boost recognition of highly skilled and dedicated aged care nursing and care staff by ensuring they have the resources necessary to deliver the best possible care to older Australians.
The Because We Care Campaign is supported by all state and territory branches of the ANF – including the NSWNA.
She said the campaign would ‘target’ all Federal MPs, Senators and Ministers while campaign supporters around Australia were urged to send an on-line message to the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliott, calling on the Federal Government to properly fund aged care.
‘We desperately need nursing staff with the right mix of nursing skills and increased Federal Government funding, with greater accountability for that funding,’ she said.
‘The fact is, nurses working in aged care are paid significantly less than their counterparts in other sectors, on average $300 a week less, which is one of the reasons we’re having difficulty recruiting nursing staff to the industry.
‘We will be working with the community, residents, relatives, and our members to send a strong message to the Prime Minister that aged care nursing and care staff matter,’ said Ged.
Almost 30 senators and MPs, including Ms Elliot and shadow minister Margaret May, took time out from busy parliamentary schedules to attend the launch.
Thousands have already signed the Aged Care Charter and more than a hundred emails have been forwarded to the Health Minister.
Senator Claire Moore welcomed guests followed by a short address from Ms Kearney before handing over to frontline aged care workers to ‘tell it like it is’.
Lucille McKenna, Director of Nursing at St Mary’s Villa and one of the faces of the campaign, hoped the campaign would help her to recruit and retain nursing staff.
‘It’s so important to keep nurses in aged care because if we lose them out of the sector, we won’t be able to get them back,’ said Lucille.
‘I have spent 40 years in aged care … I think we have reached a point where we are now going backwards.’
Ged said the ANF is committed to this campaign for the next two years and into the next federal election.
To access the Aged Care Charter and send an email to the Minister, visit the Because We Care Campaign website at: www.becausewecare.org.au