Aged care nurses employed at Warrnambool’s 200-bed public sector nursing home say a proposal to cut 3.5 full-time senior nursing positions will compromise resident care.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) met with concerned members on 24 July who are calling on Lyndoch Living to shelve its proposal to reduce the number of nursing leadership positions.
Under its plan Lyndoch Living will merge its two highest acuity units — the 45-bed Audrey Prider Centre unit and the 39-bed Lake Lodge unit. The units will remain physically separated by a room.
The artificial collapse of the two units into one will result in doubling the number of residents and staff under the responsibility of one nurse unit manager.
The two high-care units are subject to Victoria’s Safe Patient Care Act’s minimum staffing requirements and the 2016 public sector nurses and midwives enterprise agreement.
ANMF is now preparing to notify the Fair Work Commission of a dispute in relation to the application of nursing management clauses in the enterprise agreement.
The agreement requires each unit to have a full-time unit manager and five full-time associate unit managers to provide senior clinical leadership and supervision across morning, afternoon and night shifts, seven days a week.
Under the unit-merger plan, one full-time nurse unit manager will now be responsible for the clinical care of 89 residents. A reduced number of associate unit managers, 7.5 full-time positions instead of 10, will oversee the unit when the nurse unit manager is not rostered on.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Acting Secretary Paul Gilbert said: ‘It is concerning to see an aged care facility cutting senior nurses in light of the aged care royal commission, and the evidence that highlights the need for mandated staffing and skill mix.
‘Senior nursing leadership is crucial to providing safe, quality resident care and I urge families and advocates to let Lyndoch Living know this plan to cut care is unacceptable for their vulnerable loved ones.
‘The savings aren’t worth it. Without appropriate clinical oversight residents are at risk of missed care which can lead to preventable deterioration, loss of dignity and premature death,’ Mr Gilbert said.
ANMF is scheduled to meet with Lyndoch Living management on 15 August.