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We must fix aged care: it’s time to get political

We must fix aged care:  it’s time to get political

If you agree that aged care providers should legally have to staff more nurses and personal care workers on every shift then it is time to get political.

There are no laws or regulations that require minimum staffing levels, better known as ratios in Victoria.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety did recommend every resident receives a minimum of 200 care minutes, including 40 minutes by a registered nurse, every day by July 2022.

But the Morrison Government will not implement any staffing increases until late 2023 – well after the next election.

In fact, it’s been a year since Prime Minister Scott Morrison sprung a press conference on the Canberra press gallery to release the aged care royal commission final report and recommendations.

And ANMF members tell us nothing has changed in their workplace. Almost 5000 private aged care members responded to our recent survey, with 70 per cent reporting staffing levels had declined over the past 12 months. The impact on their residents is heart breaking. It’s taking a toll on their own health and wellbeing too.

And in the next farcical chapter of this sorry saga the Morrison Government is holding another inquiry. This time it’s a Productivity Commission inquiry into aged care employment models, particularly subcontracting.

This will be the 22nd inquiry or report into aged care since 1997 when the then prime minister John Howard introduced the new federal Aged Care Act.

We don’t need another inquiry to tell us residents need more nurses and personal carers right now to get the care they need.

Nurses and personal care workers need more staff right now to be able to give that safe, quality and dignified care.

Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt issued a media release on 28 February 2022 patting the Morrison Government on the back for its progress on aged care reform. Minister Hunt does not mention increasing staffing levels or improving pay and conditions.

It is time to fix aged, and we need you to tell your local MP to support the four key reforms:

  1. guaranteed ratios (minimum mandated care hours and the right skills mix)
  2. registered nurse on site 24 hours per day
  3. greater transparency – funding tied to care
  4. improved wages and conditions.

Send your MP an email via our national ANMF ‘It’s not too much to ask’ campaign website. Our website will help you find your local MP (you will just need your postcode) and give you a template letter you can modify in your own words.

Ask your MP for a meeting. Go and tell them what it’s like at work – just in case they haven’t read the royal commission final report.

Then tell your colleagues, your friends and family to send an email too. We need to flood our MPs with these emails.

We have to make aged care an election issue.

Politicians won’t do anything to fix aged care until they think voters care.