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International Nurses Day: ANMF members rally for staff ratios in aged care

The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) will mark today’s International Nurses’ Day (IND), with the launch of its new, national campaign to fix the crisis in aged care.

Nurses, midwives, carers, families of nursing home residents and other concerned members of the community will come together at events all across Australia – calling on our federal politicians to legislate staffing ratios in residential aged care facilities as a matter of urgency.

“International Nurses’ Day is a day when the whole community can stop and reflect on the amazing contribution nurses make to Australia’s health and aged care systems,” the ANMF’s A/Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, explained.

“And that’s what ANMF members are doing today, rallying across the country to show their support for nurses and care working in nursing homes, who are struggling to cope as a result of chronic understaffing and increasingly dangerous workloads.

“This year’s IND theme is Nurses: A voice to lead – Health is a Human Right.

“ANMF agree; health is a human right and everyone in the community has the right to receive proper health care. But we know that is not happening for many nursing home residents right now – too many are being denied this fundamental right.

“Without mandated staffing ratios, many providers are choosing to employ fewer and fewer nurses to care for an ever-increasing number of vulnerable residents.  More than 85% of nursing home residents have complex care needs, yet from 2003 to 2016 there’s been a 13% reduction in qualified nursing staff working in aged care.

“We know staffing ratios work well in the public hospital system and in child care centres, and we know they can work in aged care. This is why ANMF members are standing up for Australia’s elderly and asking the community to join our campaign to make ratios in aged care law now.

“On this International Nurses Day, we’re asking Australians to acknowledge the nurses and carers working in nursing homes and the vulnerable residents they care for – and to consider how they can help in the fight for improved staffing in aged care.”