Calls for Morrison Government to act on safe staffing laws

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) today calls on the Morrison Government to urgently respond to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report’s recognition that staffing levels in aged care are too low and that staff ratios should be introduced to ensure that there are sufficient nursing and other care staff present at all times in residential aged care.

The ANMF has long-campaigned for the introduction of safe staffing laws – to stop the suffering of elderly Australians living in residential aged care facilities. We thank the Royal Commissioners, the Honourable Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO, for acknowledging the importance of the right numbers of the right types of staff in guaranteeing safe, dignified care for every older Australian.

“This Government and many previous Governments, have done nothing to address ever-increasing shortages of registered nurses and qualified carers working in aged care. Without adequate staffing and skills mix, with minimum standards for care workers, nursing home residents have suffered terribly, as a result of inadequate levels of care,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said today.

“The Morrison Government must now act; every day the Government delays taking action to address dangerous understaffing in nursing homes and community care, is another sad day, that vulnerable residents will continue to suffer.”

The ANMF also calls for the Government to ensure the $452 million in ‘immediate response’ funding for the aged care sector is directly tied-to the provision of care. The current lack of transparency for the use of billions of taxpayer dollars aged care providers receive annually must be rectified. The Government must take immediate action on the Report’s recommendations to improve transparency and accountability to ensure safe and best practice care for every older Australian living in nursing homes.

The 1000-page Final Report was the culmination of a two-year Inquiry, with over 10,000 Submissions, involving 23 public hearings and evidence from overwhelmed nurses, carers, elderly residents and their families. Their often-distressing evidence exposed how dangerous levels of understaffing in privately-run nursing homes was the root cause of so much of the residents’ neglect. The Government must now act so every older Australian can receive the ‘Care, Dignity and Respect’ they deserve.

ANMF media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary.

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