Enrolled Nurses Cut from Understaffed Nursing Homes

17 November 2022

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has expressed concerns that Enrolled Nurses (EN) are being made redundant and replaced with personal care workers (PCW) in nursing homes – in what appears to be a cynical cost-cutting exercise by some aged care providers.

In Tasmania, Southern Cross Care has commenced making ENs redundant in all their facilities, substituting them with extended care workers, apparently in response to the Federal Government’s policy of mandated minimum care minutes in aged care facilities. In-line with one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission, aged care facilities will be required to meet an average case-mix-adjusted care minute target of 200 minutes per resident per day from RNs, ENs and PCWs. This includes 40 minutes with an RN, with the remaining 160 minutes based on a combination of care delivered by RNs, ENs and PCWs.

Some providers in South Australia are also substituting ENs with a combination of Registered Nurses (RN) and Personal Care Workers (PCW).

“The ANMF is extremely concerned that some operators like Southern Cross Care are cynically using the new staffing and funding model to cut ENs from their rosters, despite the Government’s explicit direction that ENs are to be included in mandated minimum care minutes and will be funded,” ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said today.

“What’s apparent is that these providers are merely trying to save on costs – yet again, putting profits before the people in their care. Instead of implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations to increase care minutes for residents, they’re reducing frontline EN positions, replacing them with lower-paid personal care workers – and putting extra workloads on to already burnt-out RNs.

“Our members in Tasmania and SA are concerned that cutting the number of frontline ENs will now make it even harder for RNs to cope with these additional workloads and will seriously compromise providers’ capacity to recruit and retain RNs. We call on Southern Cross Care and other providers thinking of doing the same, to stop – workers and the residents they care for, will both suffer.

The affected ENs are being supported by the ANMF, which is holding talks with the Management of Southern Cross Care. The ANMF (SA Branch) has also written to the Department of Health and Aged Care, expressing concerns that the actions of these providers is ‘not in the interests of safe resident care’ and that this issue ‘may become more expansive over time’.

The ANMF, with over 322,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and carers in Australia.

ANMF media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne. 

ANMF media inquiries: Richard Lenarduzzi 0411 254 390

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