Minister agrees that nurses need ratios in aged care

Monday 10th April, 2017

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is pleased the Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has acknowledged the need for the long-overdue aged care workforce strategy that provides a broad approach for workers in the sector.

In an interview with Inside Ageing, Minister Wyatt said he recognised the crucial importance of having “a ratio of nurses or a ratio of care givers” when developing a workforce strategy for aged care.

ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said Minister Wyatt’s comments came at a time when recent examples of chronic understaffing in nursing homes around the country were resulting in avoidable injuries for patients.

Ms Thomas said these injuries have a direct relationship to the number and skill of care staff.

“The Minister is correct in saying that all staff in aged care play a part and include  – gardeners, cooks and admin staff all have a role to play,” Ms Thomas said today.

“But last year’s National Aged Care Staffing and Skills Mix Project showed that nursing home residents were receiving just on 2.84 hours of care each day, when they should be receiving over 4 hours and that a skills mix of Registered Nurses (RN) 30%, Enrolled Nurses (EN) 20% and Personal Care Worker (PCA) 50% was the minimum skills mix needed in nursing homes.

“This is the research the Minister needs to focus on if the industry is to develop a sustainable workforce strategy which puts the delivery of care at its core.”

The ANMF, with over 259,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.