ADHC branches were given conference support for resolutions in support of nurses who may have to choose between forced transfer to non-government providers, or leaving the disability sector altogether.
“I also had an opportunity to speak to nurses from other sectors who had no idea ADHC was being privatised, and what it will mean to lose a service of last resort,” Vicki, secretary of the Association’s Norton Road Specialist Supported Living ADHC branch said.
“Annual conference also gave ADHC nurses a chance to become more aware of issues in other fields of nursing. That’s what I really like about conference; the opportunities for networking and learning from others.”
The Liberal state government says that by 2018 it will no longer provide direct disability services. There is no certainty of continuing employment for staff that may be transferred against their wishes.
“We hope there is still a chance for ADHC to remain as a service of last resort, for people with complex medical and behavioural issues. Realistically we know ADHC will not remain a large service provider,” Vicki said.
“The challenge now is to make sure ADHC nurses maintain their rights and conditions in the transfer to the non-government sector.
“The private sector acknowledges it needs our nurses’ experience and expertise for the transition to succeed. However, we know they most likely won’t [want to] pay us the same wages or maintain current award conditions.
“ADHC has always been the fallback for really difficult and expensive clients the NGOs are unable to support. We are concerned that this option will no longer be available when the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme] is fully implemented.
“My fear is that some of these clients will end up with nowhere to go and at significant risk to themselves and others. Or be forced to live in inappropriate placements, such as in aged care, the prison system or hospitals. ”
— Vicki Yep RN
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