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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

Aged Care workforce shortages

Aged care facilities will be required from July 1 to have a registered nurse presence on every shift. Shortages in skill base will have an impact on regional aged care facilities meeting this new mandate.

The Federal Government have conceded that these targets will not be met by the July 1 deadline. Aged Care Minister Anika Wells told the ABC in March, “nearly all facilities will have enrolled nurses on duty.”

"We've got 80 per cent of facilities now who are meeting 24/7 nursing requirements, and another 9 per cent who are nearly there or very steadily working towards making it," Ms Wells said.

"We also acknowledge there's probably about 5 per cent of facilities, particularly in our rural and remote areas, who will not be able to get there," Ms Wells said.

"We're working closely with them to make sure they get the exemptions and support — as do their residents — that they need"

The Royal Commission into aged care made recommendations for residents to receive a minimum of 200 minutes of care each day and a registered nursing requirement on shifts.

Shadow Minister for Aging in South Australia Penny Pratt said that there are “workforce shortages in every industry, but particularly in health, it is chronic.”

“That has had an implication for nursing homes' ability to recruit.”

“We've seen in this interstate, sadly, up to 200 aged care beds in nursing homes have had to... Well, nursing homes have closed, so 200 residents to move because the nursing homes cannot recruit fast enough a workforce that meets the government's mandatory baseline,” Ms Pratt said.

The Federal Government have given the aged care sector the biggest single pay rise of 15% , another recommendation from the royal commission into the industry. Raising concerns from providers of funding this infinitive from July1.

The federal budget set aside $11.3 billion dollars to assist aged care providers with the 15% pay increase, with registered nurses expected to pocket and additional $10,000 a year.

“If nurses or the workforce is being cannibalised state by state, industry by industry, then we're really not making any headway,” Ms Pratt said.

“The impact to nursing homes is threefold. There's an award wage increase of 15% which we would welcome, but that impost is going to sit with the employer,” Ms Pratt said.

"There's going to be an increase of care minutes per patient. Again, these are welcome initiatives, up to an average of 215 minutes a day, where a registered nurse has to attend or provide 44 minutes of them.”

“The businesses providing aged care in Frome, Wheatfields in Freeling and the Willara incorporation of Hamley Bridge and Balaklava services, certainly providers that are tracking this closely, they have to but workforce is the issue,” she said.


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