The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), says it’s encouraged by today’s announcement that the Opposition is moving to force a Review of the $1.8 billion in funding cuts to the aged care sector.
According to ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, the funding shortfall is now having devastating impacts on the quantity and quality of care being provided for elderly, vulnerable Australians.
“The ANMF is pleased the Opposition has listened to the concerns of our frontline aged care nurses and assistants in nursing (AIN) who have repeatedly warned how the funding cuts are hurting the older Australians they care for,” Ms Thomas said today.
“As we know, the sector is currently suffering a shortage of 20,000 nurses and the ANMF’s national aged care survey showed that it’s now not uncommon to have one Registered Nurse (RN) caring for up to 100 patients in a nursing home.
“Our members are telling us that in nursing homes across the country, even basic standards of care, such as feeding, bathing, bed changes and pain and continence management, are suffering as a result of poor staffing levels and decreased funding.
“That’s why we’re urging MPs from all parties and all Independents in this new Parliament to support the Opposition’s Bill so we can start to fix aged care.
“A Review of ACFI is the first-step in getting the Government to restore the $1.8 billion it’s axed from the sector. The next, and most critical, step is for the Government to require the funding to be directed to care for residents.
“The final step is to deliver a workforce strategy for aged care, which must mandate minimum staffing levels of both registered nurses and assistants in nursing/care workers for residential aged care. Improvements in care for our elderly will not be achieved until we get the workforce right.
“This is the very least we should be offering to our nation’s elderly, who have contributed so much to our lives – safe, dignified and respectful care at the end of their lives.”