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Recommendations made to the Aged Care Royal Commission for mandated minimum staffing levels and skills mix in the system, by Senior Counsel Assisting, Peter Rozen, have been welcomed by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

The Submission put to the Royal Commissioners in a Hearing in Adelaide, Friday last week, importantly recommended that a registered nurse be on duty at all times.

Mr Rozen’s recommendations focused on addressing dangerously-low staffing levels in nursing homes, in order to achieve safe, high-quality care for residents and stop the ‘exodus’ of workers from the industry:

  • an approved provider of residential aged care services should have to meet mandatory minimum staffing requirements;
  • registered nurses, including nurse practitioners should make up a greater proportion of the care workforce than is presently the case;
  • all aged care workers should receive better training;
  • unregulated care workers should be subject to a registration process with a minimum mandatory qualification as an entry requirement;
  • the care workforce should be better remunerated and should work in safe workplaces;
  • the organisations for which they work should be better managed and governed, and
  • the Australian government should provide practical leadership.

“On behalf of our members working in aged care, the ANMF welcomes Mr Rozen’s practical recommendations put forward to the Royal Commissioners,” ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said.

“As we’ve heard from our members in aged care and in the harrowing evidence from residents and their families, workforce issues, particularly inadequate staffing levels, have been the cause for much of their pain and suffering.

Ms Butler said the ANMF supported Mr Rozen’s recommendations to mandate the minimum numbers of nurses and qualified care staff that would be rostered, ensuring better, safer, continuity of care for residents.

“Better wages, training and regulation, would also improve the retention and recruitment of the beleaguered aged care workforce,” she said.

“The ANMF will continue to contribute to the Commission’s proceedings as it works towards completing its final report and recommendations to government later in the year.”