It's been a year since the Morrison Federal Government tabled the final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission.
Since then, not much has changed.
There are no ratios in aged care. There is no requirement for a Registered Nurse to be rostered 24/7. There have been no substantial wage increases, just one-off handouts on the eve of an election. And there is still no accountability for how providers spend taxpayer dollars. (Spoiler alert, these billions of dollars are not being spent on staffing or quality care.)
This federal election, nurses and midwives are demanding every political party commits to real reform in aged care, not just empty words and short-term fixes.
What's the issue in aged care?
Hard-pressed nurses and care staff are doing their best in often impossible circumstances, but there are simply not enough of them to provide the quality care they know they can.
That’s because there are currently no laws dictating how many nurses and support staff are required to provide safe care.
Australia has strict staff ratios for childcare. But there are no ratios for aged care.
In the last five years, Australia’s estimated 900 private aged care providers have received more than $60 billion federal taxpayer dollars. They do not have to publicly report how any of the funds are spent.
Many providers are putting profits above quality care. This is why we need safe staffing and financial reporting to be made LAW in aged care.
How do we fix it?
The QNMU, together with our federal body the ANMF, has four key reforms which must be addressed by the Federal Government to achieve the necessary changes in aged care.
- Registered Nurses on site 24/7
- Guaranteed ratios
- Transparency and accountability of funding
- Improved wages and conditions
Read more about the above priorities on our national campaign website.
What did the Royal Commission say?
After more than two years of hearings and evidence, the Royal Commission released its final report to the public on 1 March 2021.
The report, titled Care, Dignity and Respect, makes 148 recommendations and calls for fundamental reform of the aged care system.
These wide-ranging recommendations include:
- A new Aged Care Act that puts older people first, enshrining their rights and providing a universal entitlement for high quality and safe care based on assessed need.
An Inspector-General of Aged Care to identify and investigate systemic issues and to publish reports of its findings.
- A plan to deliver, measure and report on high quality aged care, including independent standard-setting, a general duty on aged care providers to ensure quality and safe care, and a comprehensive approach to quality measurement, reporting and star ratings.
- Professionalising the aged care workforce through changes to education, training, wages, labour conditions and career progression.
- Registration of personal care workers as well as a minimum staff time standard for residential aged care.
- A minimum quality and safety standard for staff time in residential aged care, including an appropriate skills mix and daily minimum staff time for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers for each resident, and at least one registered nurse on site at all times.
- Strengthened provider governance arrangements to ensure independence, accountability and transparency.
- Funding to meet the actual cost of high quality care and an independent Pricing Authority to determine the costs of delivering it.
Read a summary of the final report and full list of recommendations.