Issues raised by brave workers about workload affecting the quality of care in aged care facilities are issues United Voice members are only too familiar with in their working lives.
“The sad fact is the issues raised by last night’s Four Corners have been ignored by governments for far too long,” Helen Gibbons, the assistant national secretary of United Voice, said today.
“The current government, when Scott Morrison was Treasurer, was responsible for cutting billions of dollars in funding to residential aged care.
“Review after review has shown what every worker in the sector knows: urgent action is required even before the Royal Commission sits.”
Ms Gibbons called for immediate action on issues that were compromising resident care across the sector:
– Addressing staff workload to make meaningful improvements in resident care outcomes.
– Improving training and supervision to minimise risks facing both staff and residents.
– Addressing high levels of insecure work – including over-use of casuals and part-time positions – to ensure staff have the level of care and expertise required for the needs of older Australians.
– Getting rid of the historical gender pay inequality that affects the sector and undervalues the skills required in aged care.
– Improving low wages to allow better staff retention and improve resident care outcomes.
“These solutions are not rocket science and have been supported by the recommendations of repeated inquiries and reports,” Ms Gibbons said.
“United Voice has consistently argued that the evidence base is there for concerted action on aged care.
“The revelations from Four Corners are sadly just more evidence that urgent action is required right now.”
Ms Gibbons said the proposed Royal Commission should avoid blaming workers for the sake of headlines but focus on structural issues that plague the sector.
She also said any increased funding needed to be dedicated to improving staff levels and staff training so that older Australians could receive the highest quality of care.
She said workers were being placed in intolerable situations, and the risk to workers and staff was clear from the recent media reports.
“This government needs to understand that when providing aged care, the human face of care is one of the most important elements,” she said.
“You don’t get the required level of care in an environment of low pay, insecure work, poor training and rapid staff turnover.”