Federal Budget Must Deliver on Aged Care

28 March 2022

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Tasmanian Branch has called on the Federal Government to invest heavily in aged care, including funding and legislating minimum staffing ratios and implementing minimum mandated care minutes in the upcoming Budget.

The ANMF has highlighted in recent times the sector needs immediate action due to nurses and carers feeling immense strain from chronic understaffing, coupled with the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd said today, “nurses, carers and residents are bearing the brunt of a sector that needs urgent reform and must be recognised and supported with resources in the upcoming Budget.”

Key priorities include:

  • Fund and legislate the requirement for 24-hour registered nurse presence in nursing homes – at least one registered nurse on site in every nursing home at all times
  • Fund and legislate minimum staffing ratios – implement minimum mandated care minutes and the right skills mix (per the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations and in accordance with the ANMF’s implementation plan)
  • Legislate clear transparency measures that require funding to be tied to care
  • Improve conditions and fund increased wages

    Ms Shepherd said instances of inadequate, substandard, and missed care episodes “are not isolated, exceptional or occasional, they are systemic, widespread and even the norm due to chronic under staffing.”

    That is why the ANMF is seeking an increase to minimum average care minutes in residential aged care homes, which the government plans to lift to 200 minutes by October 2023.

“Care minutes in some facilities are abysmal in Tasmania. Our data has revealed, residents are receiving just 117 minutes of care at Regis Legana in the North and 122.1 minutes of care at Meercroft in the North West. That is at least 80 minutes less than they should be receiving.

“Residents are not getting the care they deserve, and staff are not being supported enough to do their job. Right now, this has to change, and it has to change now,” Ms Shepherd said.

The ANMF is also calling for a commitment to the Health Workforce to fund the development and implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based nursing, midwifery, and care worker workforce planning.

“We’d also like to see collaboration with health and aged care stakeholders, health and workforce researchers, and nursing and midwifery peak bodies to improve recruitment and retention of the nursing, midwifery, and care-worker workforce.”

Ms Shepherd has also stated support in Health and Hospital Funding is necessary to enable the State Government to use released funds to better support the health workforce.

“We are calling on an increase to the Commonwealth Contribution for activity funding to 50% ongoing.

“These priorities need to be delivered to not only ensure we have suitable health outcomes for patients and residents, but also to ensure our staff feel valued and can continue the very important work they do each and every day,” Ms Shepherd said.

Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021
Email: Emily.shepherd@anmftas.org.au