Organisations around the state have joined the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) to support the need for registered nurses to be on site at all times in aged care facilities where there are people with high care needs.
Today, 15 organisations, including Council of the Aging (COTA), Cancer Council NSW, NSW division of Australian & New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM) and Country Women’s Association (CWA), have sent an open letter to the Minister for Health, demanding revised state legislation maintain the requirement.
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the significant move could not have come at a better time and confirmed the strength of both public and professional opinion.
“Changes to definitions in Commonwealth law mean revisions to state legislation are approaching. NSW Seniors Week is a great opportunity for us to send a collective message to the government to insist safe staffing levels are maintained and the skill mix is not diminished when those changes are made,” Mr Holmes said.
“Aged care is one of the fastest growing industries and NSW has the highest number of residential aged care facilities in Australia, so we really need to be leading the way. This unified act confirms that we are not alone in our concerns about removing the requirement to have a registered nurse on site at all times for people with high care needs. Eliminating this minimal requirement will not only put pressure on our public hospitals, but have dire consequences for the most vulnerable people in our society who are often at the end stages of life.
“The government responds to the Inquiry into registered nurses in New South Wales nursing homes at the end of April, so it’s important for us to gather support and send a clear message now. We’re really hoping the state government will see the importance in maintaining the legal requirement to have a registered nurse on site at all times in NSW where people have high care needs.
“Around 165 organisations and individuals made submissions to the inquiry last year and over 25,000 signatures of public support were collected from members of the community, which clearly highlights this matter is a serious and important concern for those living and working in NSW.
“We hope this letter is the first step towards an ongoing collaboration that will not just benefit our members working in aged care but also the growing population of Australians who rely on an efficient, safe system to care for the elderly.”
Many of the organisations who have signed the letter have also made submissions to the Inquiry into elder abuse in New South Wales and Senate inquiry into the Future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce. The government’s response to the Senate inquiry is scheduled for 30 June, 2016.
The open letter is available to view here.
Download this media release: Unanimous support for registered nurses in aged care during Seniors Week
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