ANMF urges PM to act on critical aged care needs


19 August 2021

The ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler has written to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlining the ANMF’s ongoing aged care concerns and asking the Government to commit to five key areas urgently in need of reform.

The same commitments have been sought from all political parties and independent federal politicians. 

Central to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s recommendations for guaranteeing safety and quality for all elderly Australians was its recognition that the aged care workforce is the most important part of the system. 

While there are many ingredients needed to ensure safe, quality care, the Royal Commission recognised that it will not be achieved across the sector without providing enough staff with the skills and time to care. 

The ANMF acknowledges that the Federal Government has committed to implementing some of the Commission’s recommendations. 

However, we are concerned that five areas critical to guaranteeing safety and quality across the sector have been either ignored or not accepted in full by the Government. 

The consequence of the Government’s failure to address these areas is that too many elderly Australians will continue to needlessly suffer. The workforce endeavouring to care for them will continue to feel abandoned by Government, undervalued and exhausted and, as a consequence, forced to leave the sector. 

The ANMF has sought an urgent response to the following five issues crucial for ensuring safety and quality across aged care: 
1. Registered nurse presence, on-site, at every nursing home across Australia 24 hours per day, 7 days a week (that is across all shifts – day, evening and night shifts). 
2. Immediate implementation (that is by 1 July 2022) of a minimum staff time standard for at least 200 minutes of care per resident per day for the average resident, with at least 40 minutes of that staff time provided by a registered nurse.
3. A further increase in legislated minimum care hours to at least an average of 215 minutes of care per resident per day, with at least 44 minutes of that staff time provided by a registered nurse from 1 July 2023.
4. Legislated transparency and accountability measures for use of taxpayers’ funding which guarantee that funding is tied directly to care provision and staffing levels.
5. Wage increases and improvements in conditions for the aged care workforce, commencing with support and a commitment to fund the 25% wage increase being sought in the current work value case before the Fair Work Commission. 

We will be discussing responses received at the ANMF’s upcoming Federal Council meeting, 27 August 2021, and will then be sharing this information with members across the country at the ANMF’s National Biennial Conference, 15 October 2021.

Please view the letter in full here