Independents push to turn commission’s recommendations into law
Independent Senator Rex Patrick introduced a new bill last month calling for a national law requiring registered nurses 24/7 in nursing homes.
Seven months after the royal commission into aged care handed down its final report, the Morrison Government is still not fully committing to the recommendations around staffing. The government requirement of 16 hours of care from a registered nurse does not meet the commission’s recommended 24 hours.
Independents have taken action in both houses of parliament to have the recommendations enshrined in law with the urgency they warrant.
Senator Patrick’s bill effectively seeks to ensure a registered nurse is on site in an aged care facility at all times.
When introducing his bill in early September, Senator Patrick said “residents, their families, the aged care workforce and the wider Australian community cannot wait any longer”.
“I’m concerned aged care residents are not getting the care they need, and the care is varied depending on where they are located across Australia.
“The inconsistent approach leads to variations in the level of care and quality provided to residents. Proper care for our elderly is critical and it requires aged care homes to have registered nurses on site at all times.”
The previous week Dr Helen Haines, the independent member for Indi, had put forward a motion in the House of Representatives that also called on the Morrison Government to mandate nursing levels and for a range of other reforms to improve aged care, particularly in rural and regional areas.
The parliamentary initiatives of the independents to progress the commission’s recommendations drew praise from the ANMF.
“We applaud Senator Patrick for standing up for older Australians and the nurses and carers who care for them,” said ANMF Federal Assistant Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp.
“We ask all federal senators to support this new bill and the ANMF’s ongoing fight to address the failures in the aged care system.”