The ANMF, key doctors’ peak bodies and Professor John Pollaers, the chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, have jointly called on federal MPs to legislate minimum staffing ratios in aged care.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM), joined ANMF and Professor Pollaers as signatories to an open letter to the Prime Minister in The Australian newspaper on 15 December 2018.
The statement said studies identify that the main reason for missed or low-quality care in residential aged care facilities is not enough staff.
‘Australia has the opportunity to be a world leader in our delivery of aged care, just as we are in our delivery of healthcare.
‘Older Australians, those who cared for us as we grew, are entitled to affordable, accessible and high-quality aged care services delivered by a professionally trained, accredited and dedicated workforce. They do not deserve the current chronic understaffing that leads to unnecessary pain and suffering.’
The letter identifies the need for ‘the right people with the right knowledge and skills’ to care for the elderly, especially those with dementia and other disabling health conditions.
It says that mandated staffing ratios alone are not the only indicator of high quality aged care services but high quality care cannot be achieved without them.
While the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a royal commission will be held into aged care, the letter says it should not mean a delay in reforms that will prevent pain and suffering.
‘The measure of a society is how it cares for its elderly, those who cared for us,’ the letter concludes.
‘Right now we don’t measure up, but we can, and we can become the world leader in care for the elderly we should be.’