The Commonwealth Government completed a Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety with the final report 12 months ago. The report highlighted the system’s many deficiencies, including staff shortages, low wages, poor education standards, and low-quality food.
These deficiencies were further highlighted during the Covid pandemic as RACFs could not meet appropriate infection control standards, replace isolating staff, or quarantine residents.
The Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care proved unable to meet their promises of a surge workforce for adequate PPE or timely vaccination.
Neither the 2021 nor the 2022 budget has provided funding increases that would overcome these highlighted deficiencies. The HAA has written to Senator Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, requesting the required reforms, but disappointing replies.
The attached petition is a further request for the changes required to improve residential aged care to a standard that reflects the needs of older people who require this level of care with appropriate dignity and respect.
In the light of the Royal Commission, the Covid pandemic, and the issues currently facing the aged care industry, we request that you urgently enact legislation to:
- increase the salary for aged care workers to reflect the value of the work and to ensure retention
- increase staffing levels to reflect the complexity of the work, especially with people with dementia
- provide funding for specialist nurses in dementia, end-of-life care, and wound care
- provide adequate funding for on-going education, including for staff replacement
- provide funding for Nurse practitioners and salaried medical officers as a complement to GPs
- reset the relationship between the Aged care Commission and RACFs to be more encouraging and less punitive.