Gloucester aged care nurses face uncertain future

Frustrated members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) will take to the streets in Gloucester tomorrow to highlight local aged care staffing cuts.

It’s been revealed up to five full-time equivalent nursing positions will be lost, when aged care bed licences transfer from Gloucester Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital over to Anglican Care later this year.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said the number of nursing care hours per resident will also significantly reduce, prompting major concerns about the future of quality aged care.

“Almost five full-time equivalent nursing jobs will be cut when the aged care service transfers to Anglican Care. There’s also an expected loss of 172 hours of nursing care for residents per week, 142 hours of which are registered nurse hours,” said Mr Holmes.

“Aged care residents in Gloucester will each lose over one hour of quality nursing care per day. It’s a very disappointing proposal, especially in light of the neglect highlighted throughout the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care Safety and Quality. Many of these issues are the result staffing and skill mix problems, which seem to be perpetuated by the model proposed by Anglican Care.

“We know of one nurse who has already sold her local farm and plans to relocate from Gloucester due to uncertainty surrounding the aged care transition and lack of job security.

“Other nurses who are the sole income earners for their families are faced with similar decisions, such as selling property, if they cannot maintain current wages and conditions.

“The Gloucester community will suffer from this arrangement, as skilled nurses and their families are forced to leave the area over employment constraints.

“The local hospital will also likely experience an increase in admissions given Anglican Care has no plans to roster a registered nurse on duty 24/7 in the new facility.”

Anglican Care was awarded a multimillion dollar contract for the aged care service from Hunter New England Local Health District back in 2015, yet full details of the staff transfer arrangements remain unknown.

The NSWNMA has taken the matter to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and is due to reappear next week.

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