Nursing unions say the Productivity Commission’s draft report into aged care, risks worsening the problems by not stipulating the need for more staff, minimum hours and licensing of workers.
The ANF said the recommendations would roll back control of the sector when more regulation, not less, was required.
ANF federal secretary Lee Thomas said it failed to acknowledge that “extra staffing levels and the right skills mix are integral to improving care for older Australians” in residential homes.
“As an ageing population, Australians want to be assured that when they reach an age of reliance and require care, the system will look after their health and care needs,” Ms Thomas said.
“The draft recommendations in the report fail to offer any assurances of this nature. We had hoped the Productivity Commission would make recommendations that would improve the lives of aged-care residents and the staff who care for them, but the report has paid little regard to the issue of care delivery.”
National Seniors Australia chairwoman Judith Sloan agreed aged-care nurses were underpaid, but questioned the ANF’s call for more regulation, saying the controls were already ridiculous.
“The system is broken — there’s been a capital strike in the sector, and the issue of the department allocating bed licences is absolutely finished, so we have to get rid of that,” Professor Sloan said.
“We accept the role for some sort of user charges, especially with regard to accommodation and top-up care. But we need flexibility in that, and for it to be not too complicated.”
Comments from our Nurse Uncut readers include:
“Aged Care is seen as a business. A way to make money. To manipulate Government funding, because our Governments don’t want to take full responsibility. Aged Care is seen as a problem that needs an easy solution. Unfortunately, historically, the quick fix to take Aged Care out of polictical view, was to hand it over to others to take care of. Those others are the institutions we now call care facilities – they are getting larger and larger. Most common now, appears to be the 100 – 150 bed category.
I recall my Agency Nursing days, were I was often asked to work a shift here and there, at small facilities, quite commonly with 20 – 40 beds. I recall the term private nursing home being used. What would that mean today?”
Are you an aged care nurse? What are your thoughts on the draft report?