Panel of experts agree aged care staffing ratios are a ‘no-brainer’ 

21 November 2019

At a panel discussion at the recent Aged Care Reform Conference in Melbourne, a panel of clinical, medical, academic and allied health professionals all arrived at the same conclusion: older Australians deserve mandated staffing ratios in aged care.

Ratios are wanted by residents and their families, aged care employees and, as HelloCare discovered, an overwhelming percentage of their online readers see the benefits that ratios would bring to both residents and staff.

So, why then, do we have little more than excuses coming from our Federal Government, rather than a swift move to introduce staffing ratio laws?

“Money. The pushback purely comes down to money,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler told attendees at the panel discussion.

“Aged care facilities that are struggling like rural and remote places are not given any money and the big providers pinch in from them, but the bottom line is – the government doesn’t want to fund it.”

“I think most people would pay more tax for better care, but they would want some evidence regarding how that money is being spent. And that’s why we need minimum staffing ratios and appropriate skill mix so that people can tie their tax dollars to care.”

“We (ANMF) would also argue that some of our tax dollars now are not going to the best things right now that should be relocated.”

Ms Butler was joined by Anita Volkert from Occupational Therapy Australia, Professor Christine Sterling from the University of Tasmania, and Geriatric Medicine specialist Dr. Toby Commerford, each bringing their own area of expertise to the panel.
“The ANMF has been calling for mandated minimum staffing levels and skill mixes for years now,” Ms Butler said.

“We support giving staff the right training and education, but you can be the most highly qualified nurse on the planet with the best attitude and attributes, if you’re responsible for looking after 157 people, it’s not going to matter. Numbers matter.”

The sentiment was echoed by every other member of the panel. Read the full story here.