The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has welcomed a Private Member’s Bill being introduced into Federal Parliament today by Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie which will force aged care providers to publicly disclose their staffing ratios.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 would allow vulnerable residents and their families to know exactly how many nurses and carers are on duty in aged care facilities across the country.
“There are currently no laws which make providers have the right number of staff with the right mix of skills to care for nursing home residents. What’s worse, there’s no obligation for them to reveal the number of nurses and carers they’re employing in their facilities,” Ms Butler said today.
“Earlier this year, the ANMF commissioned a report, Tax Avoidance by For-Profit Aged Care Companies: Profit Shifting on Public Funds, which showed that there was no transparency, accountability or guidelines ensuring that the top for-profit providers are using over $2Billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies on direct staffing for the best care for elderly residents. As a result, staffing has been reduced to dangerously low levels and there’s an alarming increase in the levels of missed care episodes and preventable deaths.
“But by failing to support the ANMF’s campaign to Make Ratios Law – NOW, the Government just continues to ignore this crisis. It’s time we lift the lid on staffing in aged care.
“The Member for Mayo’s Private Member’s Bill is a good first step and will force providers to come clean and tell us how many nurses they really have on duty on any one shift in their facilities.
“After all, residents, their families and the community all have the right to know, given that the country’s top for-profit aged care providers are posting large profits while taking advantage of more than $2Billion in taxpayer funded subsidies.
“If they are doing the right thing and have the right number of nurses and carers rostered in their facilities, then providers should have nothing to hide.
“The ANMF thanks Ms Sharkie for giving MPs the opportunity to show the public they care and how they will stand-up for older Australians by supporting her Private Member’s Bill today.”