ANMF is stepping up pressure on Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who has described aged care as a ‘sleeper issue in this country’, to support making ratios law in private and not-for-profit nursing homes.
A community rally in Moonee Ponds, the heart of Mr Shorten’s electorate of Maribyrnong, will be held on International Nurses Day, Saturday 12 May 2018.
The rally, which will be the official Victorian launch of the national ANMF aged care campaign, will call on the Opposition Leader to commit to legislate ratios if he wins the next election.
Rally speakers will include former federal ANMF Secretary and the new federal Labor Member for Batman, Ged Kearney, who has campaigned strongly for ratios, and Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch who last year proposed amendments to the federal Aged Care Act 1997 to introduce ratios.
There are 48,500 Victorians living in private and not-for-profit nursing homes which have no safe minimum staffing rules. Another 5200 residents live in Victoria’s public nursing homes staffed according to the Andrews Government nurse to resident ratio legislation.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Acting Secretary Paul Gilbert said ‘The workplace and aged care laws, the aged care accreditation, the audit and the complaints systems, and the inquiries have all failed residents living in private and not-for-profit nursing homes.
‘Pressure is mounting on politicians to listen to residents and their families, nurses and carers who are saying understaffing is having the most serious of consequences.
‘Residents are missing care, losing hope and dignity, and facing the risk of premature death,’ Mr Gilbert said.
Last month ANMF took the ‘Ratios for aged care. Make them law. Now’ campaign to federal politicians, with mobile billboards travelling around Canberra and television commercials broadcast on the Sky News channel popular with MPs. Now it is vital ANMF members and campaign supporters attend this month’s rally to demonstrate aged care is one of the top issues of concern to voters.
The decline in the number of nurses in private and not-for-profit nursing homes is revealed in the Australian Government’s ‘The Aged Care Workforce 2016’ report.
In 2003 there were 151,181 residential aged care places in Australia, increasing to 197,046 in 2016. Despite almost 46,000 more residents to care for, registered nurses dropped from 16,265 in 2003 to 14,564 in 2016.
RNs were 14.6 per cent of the direct care workforce in 2016, down from 21 per cent in 2003. Over the past 13 years enrolled nurse numbers declined from 10,945 to 9,126 or 9.3 per cent of the workforce.
The proportion of personal care workers has increased from 56.5 per cent of the direct care workforce in 2003 to 71.5 per cent in 2016 or 69,983 EFT.
‘Nursing home owners, who recently recorded their first $1 billion profit, are replacing registered and enrolled nurses with personal care workers, putting carers in an impossible position,’ Mr Gilbert said.
‘Residents have increasingly complex clinical nursing needs in a system that is not required to have nurses. This is our national shame and why all nurses and carers are demanding ratios.’