Aged care gains traction in parliamentary reports
A Liberal-led parliamentary committee has recommended the mandatory disclosure of staffing ratios in Australia’s nursing homes.
The federal parliament’s standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, chaired by the Liberal MP for North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman, has recommended the passing of a bill that would see the mandatory disclosure of staffing ratios in Australia’s nursing homes.
The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government:
- Legislate to ensure that residential aged care facilities provide for a minimum of one registered nurse to be on site at all times.
- Specifically monitor and report on the correlation between standards of care (including complaints and findings of elder abuse) and staffing mixes to guide further decisions in relation to staffing requirements.
ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, welcomed the committee’s decision.
“The Committee has acknowledged the urgent need to increase transparency in the aged care sector, particularly around staffing levels and the use of taxpayer funding,” she said.
“It’s equally encouraging that the committee recognised the need for registered nurse staffing to be available 24 hours a day for every nursing home resident in the country.”
Ms Butler also commended independent MP Rebecca Sharkey after she introduced a Private Member’s Bill that would “increase transparency and accountability for billions of taxpayer funds provided to the sector”.
In another development in Canberra, a Senate Committee also recommended greater transparency in the financial practices of for-profit aged care providers.
The ANMF welcomed these developments and the overall recommendation that for-profit providers are subject to greater transparency and accountability as “a positive first step” but stressed that immediate implementation of the recommendations by the government was essential, independent of its Royal Commission into Aged Care.
“We don’t believe that politicians should avoid making tough decisions about the practices of for-profit providers by deferring the most difficult issues to the Royal Commission.”
“Residents and their families can’t wait for up to two years for a Royal Commission. They need the government to act now to stop their suffering,” said Annie Butler.
We want to hear from aged care members
The Royal Commission into Aged Care has begun proceedings as The Lamp goes to print. ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, has been invited to present to the Commission in mid-February.
The ANMF will also present a submission that will outline our analysis of the sector and our recommendations for change.
Further, you can also make your own submission to the Commission. All relevant information is available on the Royal Commission website: https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/default.aspx
The federal legislation that created the Royal Commission contains provisions to protect any aged care worker who appears as a witness, gives evidence, or produces a document for the Commission.
An employer who dismisses or “prejudices any employee” for contributing to the Royal Commission is liable to penalties including up to one year’s imprisonment.