Nurses Tell Commission Aged Care Needs Nurses

Shirley Ross-Shuley, AIN, QACAG member
Shirley Ross-Shuley, AIN, QACAG member

Nurses rally for aged care outside Productivity Commission hearing.Aged care nurses and community supporters turned out in force in Surry Hills on 28 March for a rally outside the venue where the Productivity Commission held its meeting. The message was clear: Safe staffing levels and pay equity for aged care nurses.

Debbie Lang, RN at Gosford Private Hospital and a member of the Quality Aged Care Action Group (QACAG), was a guest speaker at the rally along with NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda.

‘The Productivity Commission needs to be mindful of nurses when they consider a recommendation. Nurses need proper staffing, professional support and reasonable pay for caring for the elderly,’ said Debbie, whose mother joined her at the rally.

Daphne Swan, RN at St Catherine’s nursing home in Bathurst, agreed:

‘We need to show the Productivity Commission that we care about the needs of our patients.

Increased pay for more staff would attract more people into the sector and allow us to give better care where we’re not rushed,’ she told The Lamp.

Alice Scott, a former aged care worker, said she and other colleagues had come from Wollongong for the rally because ‘things have got worse in the sector. Nurses deserve more money, better conditions and more respect’.

Around 60 people turned up for the rally and lined up outside the Adina Hotel where the Productivity Commission heard evidence from an RN working in aged care and NSWNA Officers.

They formed a line along Crown Street, where they spoke with passers-by. Several cars tooted their horns in support.

Representatives from organisations including QACAG, Retired Teachers Association, Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA), and the Council of Retired Unionists Association (CRUMA) attended the rally.

Helen Hamilton, a community supporter whose mother lives in a nursing home, told The Lamp: ‘I cared for my mum till two years ago, then she moved to a nursing home in the Illawara. Although my mum is well taken care of, staffing could definitely be better.’