Blue Care cuts Bundaberg aged care nurses

Published: 8 August, 2017

Click here to download a PDF copy of this release

QUEENSLAND’S largest aged care provider has cut more than half their Bundaberg aged care Enrolled Nurses (ENs) and advertised for largely untrained carers to replace them.

Blue Care today cut at least 11 of around 17 Enrolled Nurses at their Bundaberg Blue Care facilities under a cost-cutting initiative the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) fears could be rolled out state-wide.

QNMU Secretary Beth Mohle said the dangerous Blue Care initiative could put tens of thousands of elderly lives at risk and set a startling precedent in Australian aged care.

Blue Care recently announced some experienced Enrolled Nurses would be replaced with carers. Blue Care also stated they would largely transfer the administration of complex and potentially life-threatening medications from nurses to carers.

“While Blue Care were planning to cut experienced aged care Enrolled Nurses, they were placing advertisements on Seek for carers at the same Bundaberg facilities,’’ Ms Mohle said.

“According to Blue Care’s ads, all some carers require are a First Aid Certificate, a CPR Certificate and a Driver’s License.

“Allowing untrained staff to administer complex medication to the elderly and failing to provide sufficient nursing care is elder neglect and must not be tolerated.”

Blue Care are the state’s largest aged care provider with 126 facilities between Cairns, Cunnamulla and Coolangatta. Blue Care is part of Uniting Care Queensland which recently reported a $40 million surplus.

Ms Mohle said residents were paying customers who deserved quality care. She said those in care had the right to demand a nurse administer their medication.

“I ask families, residents and journalists to hold their local Blue Care Manager accountable for making these potentially harmful decisions,’’ Ms Mohle said.

“We also call on Uniting Care Queensland CEO Anne Cross to stop cutting corners and ensure elderly residents are treated with dignity and respect.”

A rally will be held to protest Blue Care’s decision outside the Blue Care Pioneer Aged Care Facility corner of Barolin and Heaps Streets, 10am Tuesday 15 August.

Fast Facts

  • Blue Care and other providers claim they are cutting nurse numbers due to Federal Government funding cuts
  • However, the Federal Government and tax payers provided $15.8 Billion in aged care funding to providers in 2014/15
  • In 2016, the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) reported Australian aged care providers made more than $1.77B and turned a net profit of $907M
  • There is no transparency regarding how the $15.8 Billion was spent by aged care providers
  • Research has shown aged care residents currently receive 90 minutes a day less care than they require
  • Unlike child care or public hospitals, there are no ratios or laws that dictate how many nurses or support staff must be on site to assist the elderly at any time
  • In fact, there is no law that states even a single Registered Nurse (RN) be on site at an aged care facility at all times
  • We know aged care facilities are poorly staffed. Some rely on Virtual Nurses, or nurses located up to 400km at a sister facility, to give medical advice over the phone
  • The Australian aged care system is driven by profits and not the best interests of residents.

To sign the QNMU’s petition against Blue Care’s proposed changes please visit www.megaphone.org.au/p/bluecare.