Southern Cross Care Tasmania Delay Decision Making Amid Growing Staffing Crisis

2 March 2023

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Tasmanian Branch are increasingly concerned about the safety and quality of resident care following the re-scheduled consultation meeting on Tuesday 28 February 2023, with Southern Cross Care Tasmania’s (SCCT) CEO, Robyn Boyd.

Despite a commitment from SCCT to provide a change proposal with details of what a Household Model of care would look like in SCCT facilities during the Fair Work Commission in January, no change proposal was given to the ANMF at the consultation meeting. When asked for detail, SCCT CEO Robyn Boyd indicated that SCCT would not be providing any details on staffing profiles, nor how many residents would be in each household.

‘The approach by SCCT and it’s CEO is not only in breach of Fair Work Commission undertakings, but it also shows further disregard to the concerns of nursing, care staff and residents’ families, which Robyn Boyd had zero interest in listening to’, said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd.

CEO Robyn Boyd claimed that the feedback to their consultation on the new model of care was all positive and everyone was on board with their proposal. However, ANMF members and residents’ families have shared with the ANMF that while they have attended consultation sessions, they have not been provided with the details of what each household would look like, including how many nursing or care staff would be allocated to each household. One residents’ family indicated that they were told the staffing model would be ‘fluid’.

This comes amid a desperate attempt by SCCT to attract more Registered Nurses (RNs) to their facilities by offering increased pay rates and cash incentives to any RN who attracts another RN to work at SCCT. This development follows a number of RN’s recently leaving SCCT due to increasing workloads and concerns around the ability to provide quality care amid the looming proposed removal of ENs from SCCT facilities.

SCCT recently flew in Agency RNs from South Australia to cope with their staffing crisis, while bizarrely cancelling up to 60 Tasmanian Agency Nursing Staff, who they had been relying on to safely staff their facilities.

‘How SCCT expect to be able to continue to deliver safe and quality care following a botched and protracted consultation process on a new model of care with no ENs and a dwindling number of RNs while still blindly progressing with their change, is quite frankly disturbing.’

In some SCCT facilities where ENs and RNs have left, residents’ medications are being missed and multiple medication cups are being found in the evening which should have been taken at lunch time. Residents are suffering burns from hot drinks as there is limited staff to assist them. Families are being bullied by management after raising concerns about their relatives care at the Safety and Quality Commission.

The ANMF have again written to the Federal Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, urging an immediate announcement for protected EN minutes to address the urgent concern at SCCT and ensure the retention of skilled and valuable ENs in Aged Care.

The ANMF will also be seeking a repeated and urgent listing in the Fair Work Commission disputing SCCT’s consultation process.

Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021