Nurses slam erosion of rural aged care

CLAIMS by a nursing union that quality of service was being eroded in rural and regional public aged care centres has been described as “absolute rubbish” by the state government.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has warned that if public sector operations are trimmed more beds will fall into private control where there was less qualified nurses and lower staffing level standards.

“This is a crucial issue that has passed under the radar with the help of the state government,” state branch assistant secretary Paul Gilbert said.

He claimed the state had a secret plan to withdraw its share of funding for aged care facilities which had 750 beds in the south-west.

“The move threatens public sector aged care beds operated by all regional and rural healthcare centres which will have to sell off beds or close down vital services to survive,” Mr Gilbert said.

“There is no guarantee as to the skill set or the number of staff who will work in private nursing homes.”

Health Minister David Davis said the union was scaremongering and misleading the community.

“The union should apologise for this disgraceful attempt to cause distress just to help out their Labor mates,” he said. “The ANMF should stop writing fairy tales. Their claims are a complete and total lie.

“Paul Gilbert was silent when his mates in the former Labor federal government made changes to the aged care funding formula.”

Mr Davis said despite aged care being funded and regulated by the Commonwealth government, the Victorian Coalition government was strengthening its commitment and had spent almost $13 million on additional capital and equipment. 

The state government also topped up support to country aged care services to fill the hole left in Commonwealth funding, he said.

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