NURSES PROTEST: On Wednesday February 24, 2021 in Murwillumbah aged care supporters highlighted safe staffing needs. L-R Aged care supporter Peter Guinea, aged nurse Clare Carrick (blue), aged care advocate Alma McCallister (back), former aged care nurse Clare Bathgate (in red) with aged care recipient Colin Alexander.
NURSES PROTEST: On Wednesday February 24, 2021 in Murwillumbah aged care supporters highlighted safe staffing needs. L-R Aged care supporter Peter Guinea, aged nurse Clare Carrick (blue), aged care advocate Alma McCallister (back), former aged care nurse Clare Bathgate (in red) with aged care recipient Colin Alexander.

‘Desperate situation’ facing aged care workers

Murwillumbah aged care supporters are highlighting the need for safe staffing levels ahead of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which is due to hand down its final report on Friday.

As the Commission is expected to hand down a damning indictment of the Government's management of the aged care sector, members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association (NSWNMA) are calling on the Morrison Government, and all political parties, to act.

Association member, Claire Bathgate, said aged care could no longer be ignored by the government.

She said aged care nurses from Murwillumbah to Albury, Broken Hill to the Blue Mountains are highlighting the need for staffing ratios and greater transparency of government funding linked to care.

"The Morrison Government must act now to mandate staffing ratios," Ms Bathgate said.

"This isn't just a national emergency - it's life and death."

Ms Bathgate said the pandemic had highlighted the need more staff to assist some of society's most vulnerable.

"Aged care nurses have been on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.

"We urgently need sufficient staffing levels and skills mix, to cope with the intensified demand and workloads.

"The tragedies we saw in NSW and Victorian nursing homes during the pandemic last year clearly show why aged care providers must be legally required to have minimum staffing and skills mix."

Ms Bathgate said aged care has suffered from chronic and widespread understaffing and a lack of transparency in how government funding is spent.

"The Royal Commission has proven how desperate the situation is in aged care," she said.

"Regardless of the outcome, the government can't ignore the need for better staffing and greater transparency around funding linked to care."


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