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Tweed rallies behind RNs in aged care

Ongoing community support is building across the Tweed region for registered nurses to remain on duty 24/7 in aged care facilities with high-care residents, on the back of a campaign by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA).

On Monday, 7 September, members of the Tweed Heads Community Nurses and Tweed Hospital Branches of the NSWNMA will hand deliver more than 5,000 petition signatures, collected from the local area and across NSW, to Tweed MP Geoff Provest.

Local nurses and midwives are lobbying the NSW Government to keep a legislative requirement for registered nurses to be on duty at all times in homes where residents have high-care needs. This state legal requirement is in jeopardy due to changes to Commonwealth aged care laws.

Assistant General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Judith Kiejda, said it is vital for quality of care that these requirements are placed permanently into NSW legislation.

“Following lobbying by NSWNMA members and community groups, the Minister for Health did enact an interim arrangement to keep the requirement while consultation with the sector occurred,” Ms Kiejda said.

“It’s evident from our local dedicated members who work in aged care in the Tweed region that the clinical care of high-needs residents would be put at risk if the state government chose to abandon this requirement.

“If there’s no registered nurse is on duty, residents are often sent to hospital emergency departments for treatment that a registered nurse could have provided at the home. Unnecessary hospitalisations are distressing for residents, and puts pressure on stretched hospital resources.

“The roles of a registered nurse and director of nursing in nursing homes with high-care residents are vital to the NSW health system.  Our Branch members have done a fantastic job in raising awareness about this issue in the local community.”

Branch members will encourage Mr Provest to table the petition of 5,000 signatures in the NSW Parliament for further consideration of the issue.