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Urgent Action Required In Aged Care, Australian Nursing Federation

July 29, 2017

Australia's aged care system faces further decline without urgent action to improve staffing levels and working conditions in the sector, the ANF said today in response to a new Access Economic report.

ANF assistant secretary Yvonne Chaperon said older Australians deserve the best quality care from a range of nursing staff including registered and enrolled nurses and assistants in nursing.

"We know that older people requiring care in residential settings are often in need of high level nursing care. It is essential that aged care facilities have an appropriate mix of staff and an adequate number of staff to provide this care."

Ms Chaperon said statistics in the report indicating a 60% increase in demand for aged care places compared to a projected 14% increase in staffing levels would result in a serious decline in care standards.

"The ANF is already aware of conditions in many facilities where nursing staff feel they are under enormous pressure and often despair at their inability to spend enough time with residents. The Access Economics findings in relation to the projected increase in demand of 60% and the meagre 14% increase in staffing levels will be disastrous for residents."

The number of qualified nursing staff working in aged care had declined in recent years while the number of residents had increased, Ms Chaperon said.

"We have seen a marked increase in the number of residents entering aged care but the number of registered nursing staff has declined. This is totally unacceptable and the ANF will continue to campaign for reform of the aged care sector as a matter of priority."

Ms Chaperon said the federal government must take urgent action to close the wages gap in aged care and ensure facilities have an adequate skills mix and staff to patient ratios to provide older Australians the best care available.

Australian Nursing Federation