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Byron Shire
July 28, 2021

Nurses call for an improved aged care sector

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Pauline Breen Lathbury, and midwives, took to the streets of Mullumbimby last Friday to draw attention to the state of aged care in many care facilities. Photo Jeff ‘Ageing Since 1986’ Dawson.

A ‘walk with nurses’ was held in Mullum last Friday, and aimed to highlight the concern aged care nurses have around fee structures, safety issues and staff training in order to properly care for our elderly.

It comes as the Royal Commission into Aged Care report was released Monday. Upon its release, the peak aged care lobby group, Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC), described it as a ‘critical watershed moment in Australia’s quest for a fair and just system, that gives older people the care and choice they need and deserve, according to the nation’s aged care providers’.

The newly formed AACC comprises six aged care peak bodies: Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and UnitingCare Australia.

AACC say they ‘represent more than 1,000 organisations that are responsible for about 70 per cent of aged care services’.

20 aged care reviews

AACC representatives Patricia Sparrow and Sean Rooney said more than 20 government aged care reviews in 20 years ‘had left fundamental questions about sustainability, accountability, transparency and service for older Australians largely untouched’.

Ms Sparrow and Mr Rooney added, ‘The inescapable challenge is that Australia spends less than half of what comparable countries do on aged care, at 1.2 per cent of GDP, versus an OECD average of 2.5 per cent’.

‘As a result, under-resourced aged care homes were described by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission as [being] in an “impossible situation”, and were struggling to maintain standards and staffing, while fighting to keep their doors open. What Australia needs is a regulatory and funding model that recognises older Australians’ fundamental human rights’.

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