Aged care staff in limbo as Gloucester privatises beds

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has raised serious staffing concerns over the transfer of publicly-funded aged care licences from Gloucester Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital to not-for-profit provider, Anglican Care.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said a comparison of residents’ current nursing care hours at Gloucester Hospital against new rosters proposed by Anglican Care show a significant reduction.

“These aged care residents will lose more than 150 hours of nursing care a week, which is approximately five full-time equivalent registered nurses and a further three full-time equivalent enrolled nurses or assistants in nursing,” said Mr Holmes.

“This is worrying for the ongoing health and wellbeing of the aged care residents and their families, as well as the nursing staff, should they transfer to Anglican Care’s new purpose-built facility.”

Frustrated by a lack of detail regarding staff transfer arrangements and entitlements, the NSWNMA has taken the matter to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

Mr Holmes said despite several consultative meetings over the past six months, information regarding the transfer plans for nursing staff has been vague.

“The information we’ve received to date has been ambiguous at best, which is extremely disappointing for the dedicated nursing staff who will be impacted,” Mr Holmes said.

“Some of these nurses have worked at Gloucester Hospital for many years, caring for local aged care residents, but now they face an unknown future.

“Anglican Care was awarded a multimillion dollar contract for the aged care licences from Hunter New England Local Health District back in 2015, yet here we are five years on with many questions still unanswered.”

The NSWNMA is continuing to provide support to affected members and will reappear before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission next week.