The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has welcomed Senator Richard Colbeck into the crucial role of Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians and has urged him not to wait until the Royal Commission is over to start fixing the crisis in aged care.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler says unless the Minister addresses chronic understaffing as a matter of urgency, older Australians will continue to suffer in nursing homes.
According to the ANMF, key reforms for the under-resourced sector must include:
Mandated safe staffing levels and skill mixes;
Guaranteed transparency and accountability of taxpayer funding provided to the aged care sector to ensure that funding is tied to care provision;
Improved wages for nurses and care-workers in aged care.
“These reforms will certainly provide the framework for a safe, quality aged care system,” Ms Butler said.
“The new Minister cannot ignore the feedback about understaffing from our members working in aged care, or the residents and their families who have already provided their harrowing stories of abuse and neglect to the Royal Commission. He must act now.”
The ANMF also congratulated Greg Hunt, who has been reappointed Health Minister.
Ms Butler said the Minister was now in a position over the term of government, to better recognise and utilise the nursing and midwifery workforces to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
“Nurses and midwives must be allowed to work to their full scope of practice,” Ms Butler explained.
“By working as the primary carer, or as part of a team, they can provide quality, cost-effective comprehensive health care across the community.
“Nurses and midwives have the ability to provide quality care across many parts of the community where essential health care services aren’t currently available, particularly in rural and remote parts of the country.
“It’s important that we empower nurses and midwives to play a centre role in primary care and provide them with the necessary support to maximise their skills and training in order to strengthen Australia’s successful universal health system.”
The ANMF, with over 268,500 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.