ANMF says parliament must act to pass staffing ratios disclosure bill

The Federal Parliament must act on recommendations from a Liberal-led Parliamentary Committee which calls for the mandatory disclosure of staffing ratios in the Australia’s nursing homes, according to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

In examining the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 (the Bill), the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, chaired by the Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman, recognised the urgent need to increase the level of transparency in the aged care system. Accordingly, last week the Committee’s report recommended that the Federal Parliament pass the Bill, as an important first step towards achieving transparency around aged care staffing.

The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government:

Legislate to ensure that residential aged care facilities provide for a minimum of one registered nurse to be on site at all times; and,

Specifically monitor and report on the correlation between standards of care (including complaints and findings of elder abuse) and staffing mixes to guide further decisions in relation to staffing requirements.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said today: “We commend the Chair and the Committee for listening to submissions from the ANMF, other aged care stakeholders and importantly, the community and their increasing concerns about the impact of chronically low staffing levels in nursing homes which are resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering.

“As Mr Zimmerman stated, the Committee received Submissions from ‘many residents and family members which outlined harrowing examples of mistreatment. This is not good enough for a nation like Australia.’

“It’s very encouraging that the Committee has acknowledged the urgent need to increase transparency in the aged care sector, particularly around staffing levels and the use of taxpayer funding. It’s equally encouraging that the committee recognised the need for registered nurse staffing to be available 24 hours a day for every nursing home resident in the country.

“In addition to the work of the Committee, we also recognise Rebekah Sharkie’s commitment to care of our elderly by introducing her Private Member’s Bill. It’s a good first step towards ensuring greater transparency and accountability for the billions of taxpayer funds provided to the sector and will assist older Australians and their families in choosing an aged care facility, which is directing those funds towards care for their loved ones.

“The Government cannot continue to wait for the Royal Commission, when Parliament resumes in the New Year, it must act on the Committee’s recommendations and start fixing the crisis in aged care.”

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