Apr 06, 2022

Albanese government backtracks on 24/7 nurses for aged care promise

Albanese government backtracks on 24/7 nurses for aged care promise

Only six days after Labor leader Anthony Albanese promised that every aged care home would have at least one registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day within a year of being elected, Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus has admitted that the policy may not actually work.

When questioned about the lack of available nurses by journalist Raf Epstein during a radio interview on Monday, shadow attorney-general Dreyfus conceded that the Labor government may be forced to change its plans.

“We’re talking about setting the standard, and if it is in fact true that there are not enough nurses in Australia to provide that level of care, we should train more,” he said.

The promise of 24/7 nurses for aged care within a year was lauded by aged care lobby groups and aged care staff upon announcement. 

The policy was also a core element of Labor’s budget reply that included a $2.5 billion plan to transform the aged care sector, which also included supporting wage increases for staff and improving the quality of food in facilities.

The Morrison government says that it does support the recommendation, but it will look to achieve the outcome closer to the end timeframe suggested.

News of the potential backtrack by Labor garnered a swift response from Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck.

“At the first test of its policies, Labor has failed,” said Mr Colbeck.

“It has ignored the advice of the Aged Care Royal Commission and claimed they would introduce 24/7 nurses a year ahead of schedule.

“Rolling out the strategy any sooner risks the closure of aged care facilities with a serious risk to residents.

Mr Colbeck added, “We are investing $3.9 billion in funding to support the increase in nursing and direct care minutes.”

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  1. Why not introduce an easier way for people to become Nurses. Like on the job training and each year that is passed give some responsibility and create roles for each year that is passed. And at the end you have a Registered Nurse plus decreasing the workload and giving a better theory practical outcome. Just an idea. I’m not saying it’s the best idea.

  2. Dreyfus is saying that they might have to pause the policy. He is not saying that he is backtracking or withdrawing this policy. This is not a test or a failure it is just a statement of fact. The fact is that no-one wants to work in Aged Care because the pay is lower than other employment options and the working conditions in some facilities are very poor. Morrison has had years to do this job and he has failed miserably. We don’t need another Royal Commission what we need is a Prime Minister who actually does his job and gets on with it.

  3. At least the Labor government is moving in the right direction. The reality of shortage of workers may force the new government to move more quickly on workforce issue. The Coalition is a no policy or minimalist government so I don’t like our prospect of any improvement if they return to government.

  4. Typical of the party. It’s no wonder Albo only wants to take written questions from journos at press conferences and be the sole spokesperson pre the election.

    Just wait till after the election Albo will then be answering to the unelected swill in the caucus, plus the likes of KK and Wong…..two of the most evil members of the poppy

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