Aged Care – “draft report could make it worse”


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.

A recent article published in The Australian highlights feedback from the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF).

aged care

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?




  1. Well of course all Aged Persons are ‘behind the eight-ball’ jsut to start with.
    All Federal and State Govt Members know too well the ‘ballooning costs’ of giving care to the Aged Australian Population.

    They say they care! That is a total lie in the fullest meaning of this English word. Staff who do care and want to care get the same treatment, and as we go into election-mode..”mood”, nothing will change in N S W. As with all aged the complexity of medical clinical issue are well advanced and complex; hence the correct skill-mix of nurses is a priority I suggest.

    Ask you local MP for an entire and full copy of Productivity Commission Report. We pay for it so it should be made availabe at all Wards and Aged Care fascilities for sure.

    What do you think please?

  2. The hard questions are due to be to asked on 14th. February – hopefully, all over the State.

    I’ve approached my Workplace location Federal MP ( I won’t name her just yet ). I’ve spoken with her Personal Assistant, and enquiried about the MP coming down to our Aged Care Facility for morning tea, and a little chat with both staff and residents.

    This is what the NSWNA wanted us to do. Of course, I called my Facility Manager first. Sorry, she’s away on business. The Care Manager – sorry, I don’t have authority to allow that to happen. Call back tomorrow, when the boss is back on duty.

    ( I’m just about to call now )

    Assuming I get permission, and the MP agrees to attending, I’ll bring the local media in as well. The Personal Assistant agreed, that local media is good for both sides, when these type of ‘ meet and greet ‘ events occur.

    What this MP won’t be expecting, is some pretty damn hard questions to respond to.

    This is what we ALL need to do.

    14th. February – Get your Local Federal MP to ” show some love for Older Australians ” ( and the hands on staff who look after them ).


  3. Personally I wouldn’t work in aged care because I think it is very depressing and I hope I never end up in a nursing home because I know they are understaffed and mostly ran by personal carers who think they are doctors; talk about giving someone an inch and they take a mile. If you ask me the entire system has gone to the dogs ever since personal carers were given nursing duties; but this is my opinion.

  4. If I may JB: It is understandable where u r @ just now. I have an ACD in place to deal with such concerns etc.
    However, as Australia is so multi-cultural there are great numbers who will end up staying @ home, never seeing a N Home. Respect for elders is expected and given. On the minus side are thoes who must end up in N H’s. I have worked @ both extremes and in the middle sections.
    Nurses do ‘burn-out’ due to the sights we must deal with. I agree too many are given authority to function without training. That is not correct to my way of thinking at all.
    All care no matter aged of child care gets to everyone at their own leves of expectation and result. I suggest home care can assist all of us; not an instituition place specific.

    Safety is a great question. Race specific demands can be harsh in real terms of nursing. I believe N S W N A can gain much from retired nurses who have time for creative input based on vast years of expertise and experience to share.
    Yes it is a fact…’ nursing is not easy ‘.
    BUT I put it to all of readers of N U..we will all assist anyone who falls over in the street or local shops..age is not an issue. We are all humans ‘ lest we forget’
    Have a great day..oorroo !! :>))


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