16 May 2022
Shadow Minister Clare O’Neil has reconfirmed her commitment to the ANMF’s key priorities for Aged Care reform at a recent health forum in the marginal seat of Boothby.
Ms O’Neil – who is the opposition spokesperson for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services – said having a Registered Nurse on-site 24/7 will occur in the first year of a newly-elected Labor Government.
“This should be totally uncontroversial,” she told forum attendees at Marino Community Hall.
“It’s not like it was in the 70s where people in Aged Care went out at lunch time and played tennis.
“Aged Care is now looking after some of the sickest people in the country and the fact that there is not nurse on site for these people is completely wrong.
“There are so many examples where older people are going to hospital emergency for issues that a nurse could’ve dealt with, all sorts of really horrible medical incidents that are happening because they are not getting that 24-hour care.”
Ms O’Neil also spoke of Labor’s commitment to legally binding safe minimum staffing levels, transparency and accountability for funding and higher wages to aged care workers – the ANMF’s other key priorities in the lead-up to this Saturday’s election.
Other shortcomings of a broken Aged Care sector were highlighted by the concerned residents who attended the health forum. They included:
- Former health worker Carrie believed there should be a greater focus on preventative services, which allow people to live longer in their own homes
- Lang had concerns with the home care system and welcomed any move to better support the system and its workers
- An experienced nurse who spoke of chronic understaffing
- A woman who was brought to tears because her elderly, disabled parents don’t get the support they deserve living at home
- 77-year-old Liam who offered volunteer care to his neighbour Shirley before she required 24/7 support into Aged Care
Liam posed the question to Ms O’Neil: “What can we (as a community) do to make it (Aged Care) a more broadly accepted agenda.”
Ms O’Neil said voting for Labor candidate for Boothby Louise Miller-Frost and a new Labor Government would be a start.
“This (Aged Care) is I think the biggest social problem in our country today and Labor is stepping up and saying we have plans here that come from the Royal Commission that have been thought through, that have been costed, that are genuinely going to help us fix this issue,” she said.
“We are actually just talking about basic dignity for our elderly and Scott Morrison’s response is, ‘Well that’s just unaffordable.”
“This is a national priority, we want to fix it and we are only going to be able to do that if we win the election.’’