Registered nurses to stay on-site 24/7 in NSW aged care

Monday, 08 May, 2017

Registered nurses to stay on-site 24/7 in NSW aged care

The NSW Upper House has passed a Bill unanimously to ensure at least one registered nurse is on duty at all times in high-care nursing homes.

The General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA), Brett Holmes, said it is vital the Bill is passed when it moves to the NSW Lower House for consideration in coming weeks.

“We need to ensure a high standard of care is maintained throughout our nursing homes in NSW, particularly when the aged-care sector is in such a dire state nationwide,” Holmes said.

“Last year, the former NSW Health Minister indicated the state government would remove the legal requirement from legislation, despite widespread community opposition and the recommendations of an upper house inquiry to maintain it,” he said.

He continued, “We’ve been lobbying on this issue since it first arose in 2014 because we know removing registered nurses from high-care nursing homes will erode the safety measures that protect staff and residents.

“We’ve all heard the heartbreaking stories from families with loved ones in residential aged care who have suffered as a result of understaffing and skill mix issues — this is unacceptable and it’s time for our politicians to act,” Holmes said.

“It’s now up to the NSW Legislative Assembly to do the right thing and uphold the role of registered nurses in residential aged-care facilities across the state,” he said.

“Qualified and experienced nursing staff are pivotal to ensure safe resident care. We must retain this standard in NSW or we will risk significant downgrades in the quality of care delivered,” he said.

He concluded by saying, “Aged-care providers are already tightening their belts as a result of funding cuts in the last federal Budget, they don’t need another excuse to cut qualified nurses.”

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