Aged Care Royal Commission: Hobart Hearings Closing Day
Today was the final day of hearings in Hobart for the Aged Care Royal Commission.
For the third day in a row, Bupa South Hobart was the focus of the hearing. One witness gave evidence of her 90 year old mother’s experience at the facility in 2016, where staffing was so low, she would clean up after her incontinent husband, and at times help a blind resident go to the toilet.
From the 5 days of hearings this week, accounts like these have been told repeatedly, often occurring after Bupa South Hobart and Southern Cross Care Tasmania slashed care staff hours as a cost-cutting measure. This approach was labelled as ‘save a shift’ by Bupa, and utilised despite internal audits in 2016 showing that there were premature deaths and increased morbidity at the same time as staff cuts.
“I felt that with Bupa South Hobart there was an interest in cutting costs rather than caring for people,” witness Tiffany Wiles said. “That’s a very broad statement obviously but my general feeling was that the financial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) were more important than the care KPIs.”
In closing of the hearing today, poor organisational governance at Bupa and Southern Cross Care was addressed, and how decisions at an executive level flow down to the floor, residents and their families.
One former care worker giving evidence stated “you don’t go and work in aged care for money, you do it to be in service of elderly people”.
Corporate gain cannot continue have precedence over care of the elderly and well being of nursing and care workers in Australia. The ANMF will continue to advocate for our members by campaigning for staff ratios in Aged Care to be urgently legislated to address the chronic under-staffing in aged care facilities. Why wait? Make them law NOW!