Date published: Tuesday 16 August 2022
Category(ies): News, Feature
Baptist Care Australia and its members are committed to providing high-quality aged care services to older Australians. Together, the network of organisations that make up Baptist Care Australia care for more than 20,000 older Australians including more than:
- 5,500 residents in over 60 residential aged care facilities
- 1,500 residents in over 30 retirement living communities
- 14,000 older Australians in their own home
Baptist Care Australia members welcome most components of the proposed Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022. However, we note our concern that there are substantial barriers to implementation of the 24/7 RN requirements if not accompanied by additional enabling measures.
In summary, our members:
- Would welcome the ability to have a registered nurse on site and on duty at all times at each residential facility starting from 1 July 2023 if accompanied by adequate enabling mechanisms.
- Are not concerned by the proposed elimination on exit fees in home care but are not convinced that the proposed mechanism to cap certain fees will result in the desired outcome.
- Welcome any measure to increase transparency.
However, as outlined in our submission, there are barriers to the ability of many providers to fulfil the requirement for 24/7 RNs in aged care facilities in the currently context due to:
- The national shortage of Registered Nurses
- The disincentive for nurses to work in aged care due to the lower pay rates
- Unprecedented staff turnover rates, including amongst RNs
- The lack of RNs in regional and remote areas of Australia
- No clear funding source to pay for these extra nurses
These structural issues will undermine the ability of aged care providers to be able to implement the reform. This raises concerns that providers will be subject to compliance consequences despite a deep commitment to high quality clinical care and after all reasonable efforts have been made to secure the personnel needed to meet the mandated requirement.
We encourage the Committee to consider these concerns regarding implementation as they review the legislation.