24 July 2019
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has called on Federal MPs and Senators to support the Private Member’s Bill to be introduced into Federal Parliament this week by South Australian Independent Rebekha Sharkie – mandating a requirement for aged care providers to publicly disclose their staffing ratios.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, chaired by Trent Zimmerman MP, previously recommended the adoption of Ms Sharkie’s Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 as a ‘first step’ in increasing transparency in Australia’s aged care system.
With no current national laws to ensure that providers employ the right numbers of staff with the right mix of skills, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the Bill would be crucial in giving nursing home residents and their families information about exactly how many nurses and carers are on duty in aged care facilities across the country.
“Chronic understaffing continues to result in episodes of missed care, neglect, abuse, preventable illness and injury and even death,” Ms Butler said today.
“The disgraceful situation we witnessed just last week with the chaotic closure of the Earle Haven aged care facility on the Gold Coast, demonstrates how urgently aged care reform is needed. Such a situation, which placed the safety of 70 elderly residents, and the single registered nurse on duty on the final day, at extreme risk, should never have been allowed to happen. The government must stop ignoring its duty of care to elderly Australians; their failures continue to see the elderly in this country suffer.
“Fortunately, the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is prepared to take responsibility for the duty of care they have for elderly Queenslanders, immediately announcing that they will introduce new Legislation requiring private aged care providers to publicly report their staffing levels. The Palaszczuk Government will also introduce mandated staff to resident ratios in the State’s 16-publicly-owned aged care homes.
“Today, the ANMF welcomes the Member for Mayo’s Private Member’s Bill being introduced into Federal Parliament and we call on all politicians to take responsibility for their elderly citizens and stop ignoring their duty of care by supporting this Legislation which will start to bring much needed transparency into the sector and assist older Australians and their families in making informed decisions about their choice of nursing homes.”