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Reimagining aged care

Reimagining aged care

Legal Counsel assisting the aged care royal commission have made 124 recommendations to completely overhaul our aged care system.

The Senior Counsel Assisting, Peter Gray QC and Peter Rozen QC, have read thousands of pages and heard hundreds of hours of evidence about what is going wrong in aged care and what must be done to protect residents and help them thrive.

In response to the evidence they have made a 475-page final submission and 124 bold and comprehensive recommendations that re-imagine the care of our elderly parents, grandparents and loved ones.

These include game changers such as a new aged care act that provides a universal right to ‘high quality, safe and timely support and care’ and elevating aged care to the same status as health care.

Also, on their aged care to do list are mandated minimum staffing levels and minimum care hours for nurses, personal care workers, more allied health workers and formal workforce planning.

The have recommended a minimum mandatory certificate III qualification for personal care workers and national registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

They want sophisticated data collection introduced to measure and publicly report on resident outcomes.

Spending and funding transparency also feature heavily.

There’s a focus on nutrition, dental care, health care and mental health care for residents.

On one hand it is encouraging to see so many issues addressed in these recommendations. On the other it is devastating that so much needs to be done and residents and their stretched nurses and carers are still waiting.

We must remember these are the lawyer’s recommendations. It will be up to the Commissioners, Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO, to make the final recommendations to the Morrison Government.

Their final report is due in February 2021.

The Morrison Government must implement the final recommendations with a sense of urgency, obligation and duty to aged care residents. The report must not be left on the shelf to collect dust along with the dozens of ignored past reports.

The federal aged care legislation and regulations have allowed systemic staff shortages in Victoria’s private aged care which make high quality resident care impossible. (Remember the Andrews Government is able to make laws in public aged care and has legislated nurse to resident ratios on every shift.)

The federal aged care accreditation and complaints scheme have failed to detect or correct the neglect of residents.

And when the failings were brought to the attention of the federal aged care minister (there have been a few in the past 20 years) and the Federal Government through the actions of ANMF members, inquiries, reports and the media – what has happened?

Nothing. Inertia.

Aged care residents, their families, nurses, carers and the ANMF have high expectations of Prime Minister Morrison and Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck.

This time, it must be different.


Welcome to the new Victorian Mental Health Minister

A belated welcome to Deputy Premier James Merlino to the mental health ministry replacing Minister Martin Foley who has moved to the health portfolio.

ANMF has an ongoing and productive relationship with Mr Merlino in relation to issues our school nurse members face. We also believe there are many important synergies between the education and mental health portfolios that will benefit Victorians, particularly in relation to young people and preventative care.

We look forward to working more closely with Mr Merlino to implement the Andrews Government’s ambitious mental health reform agenda including ratio legislation for public sector mental health nurses as part of its 2018 election commitment.