ANMF says aged care budget falls short of reform promise

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says the $17.7 Billion for aged care in the Budget is definitely not the ‘once in a generation’ reform package promised by the Morrison Government and won’t be anywhere near enough to provide safe, quality care for vulnerable nursing home residents.

The ANMF says the commitment to introduce regulated care hours for residents acknowledges that the Government now understands that staffing is at the heart of best practice care, but it should have gone further and mandated minimum staffing levels commencing now, with a registered nurse on-site 24/7 – as the Royal Commission’s Final Report had recommended.

“We question which generation will actually see the benefits of any action the Government is taking to fix aged care. This Budget falls well short of what residents, their families and the community wanted to fix this broken system,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said tonight in Canberra.

“We’ve always said, if you don’t fix staffing, you can’t fix aged care system. So the announcement of a 200-minutes of minimum care minutes per resident is a step in the right direction, but why wait until 2023? Critically, it does not include any requirement for a registered nurse to be on site at aged care facilities. The Government appears to have also ignored the second phase of care minutes recommended by the Royal Commission. We need a plan. Why have a Royal Commission and then ignore so many of its recommendations? It’s clear that the Government has failed to deliver on the crucial recommendations of the Royal Commission.

“Without mandated minimum staffing levels and skills mix guaranteed to meet the care needs of residents, elderly Australians and their families will continue to suffer.

“The introduction of providers being forced to publicly disclose care minutes for residents is a positive step, as is the drafting of a new Aged Care Act. But the apparent lack of transparency and accountability for the use of billions of taxpayer dollars allocated to aged care providers in this Budget continues to be an absolute failure by the Government and ultimately means that unscrupulous providers can continue to put profits before care.”

The ANMF, with over 300,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

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