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Group begins workforce transformation


Work has commenced to progress the strategic actions of the aged care workforce strategy and disrupt the status quo, the workforce industry council has announced.

The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council is working to prioritise and progress the 14 strategic actions of Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy developed by Professor John Pollaers and the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce in 2018.

The council is made up of industry leaders representing providers, workers and consumers and aims to provide the leadership required to accelerate implementation of the strategic actions and the workforce’s transition to new standards.

Aged Care Workforce Industry Council interim chair Ian Hardy said the council has clearly cemented its intent to drive structural change across the industry through a number of important foundational steps.

The council has commenced work on reframing the qualifications and skills framework (action 3) and defining new pathways including how the workforce is accredited (action 4) in collaboration with the Aged Services Industry Reference Committee, he said.

Ian Hardy

“The unique mix of people around the table have a sense of purpose and urgency to follow through on the workforce strategy,” said Mr Hardy, the former CEO of South Australian aged care provider Helping Hand.

The mix of exceptional people on the council will be looking to disrupt the status quo and drive industry wide transformational change, he said.

“We will work from the insightful and innovative analysis provided by the taskforce report and build a platform to develop a renewed workforce capable of meeting new aged care horizons.”

The council will soon collaborate with the Department of Health on establishing an Aged Care Centre for Growth Translation and Research (action 12), Mr Hardy said.

The council was established on 17 May, following a January 2019 commitment from the aged care peaks to set up the leadership group to oversee the implementation of the workforce strategy in and deliver on action 14 of the strategy.

Other actions underway include the Remote Accord Leadership Group (action 11), which was established in April to find ways to sustain, support and expand the aged care workforce in remote and very remote communities.

On implementing the transformation needed, Mr Hardy said the new Aged Care Quality Standards provided a perfect vehicle for change.

“The workforce strategy deals with issues highly material to achieving the performance expected of aged care organisations under the new standards,” he said.

“This first root and branch change to the standards in over 20 years, enables a shift in best practice and the opportunity of meeting community expectations well beyond just a compliance mentality.”

The council members consist of:

  • Ian Hardy
  • Kevin McCoy, Australian Unity (deputy chair)
  • Melissa Coad, United Voice
  • Graham Dangerfield, Baptcare
  • Sandra Hills, Benetas
  • Ross Johnston, Regis (Guild Chair)
  • David Maher, Catholic Healthcare
  • John McCallum, National Seniors Australia
  • Lucy O’Flaherty, Glenview Community Services
  • Graeme Prior, Hall and Prior
  • Cathy Thomas, BlueCare (Part of Uniting Care Australia)
  • Ian Thorley, Estia Health

More information on the strategy is available here and a pdf of the taskforce’s final report A Matter of Care is available here.

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4 Responses to Group begins workforce transformation

  1. James August 9, 2019 at 12:10 pm #

    Fantastic, I really hope this talented group can make some positive change and directions. When you look at the number of carers needed into the future and the high acuity of residents entering residential facilities- requiring Registered Nurses to assess and implement care. I would love to see the pay gap between hospitals closed, as you would then attract more Registered Staff. We also cannot rely on overseas staff all the time, we need to attract and keep local staff too. I wish this group all the best, a really positive move if change comes out of their hard work.

  2. Annissa August 9, 2019 at 2:08 pm #

    It is great to see the council being established – looking forward to seeing the recommendations unfold, and also hearing more about the Aged Care Centre for Growth Translation and Research.

  3. Caroline August 9, 2019 at 3:49 pm #

    I think the talent is less important than the actions.

    For one, I’d like to see a broadening of the workforce, similar to the NDIS where non-clinical staff for example, can be valid workers beyond being a direct care worker. As a counsellor, I can be a registered NDIS provider but in the aged care sector, my qualifications and interest area is invalidated, unless I’m employed by some organisation. Ironically, my experience in aged care is close to 20 years!

    There’s far too much emphasis in the aged care sector on clinical staff (typically nursing staff) and direct workers. Disruption means that we embrace a diversity of roles and allow a diversity of players in the space. For example counsellors and psychologists can both support older people’s mental health. One should not be prioritised over the other because each has a distinct role.

  4. Liz August 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm #

    The best of luck to you all in this transformation. It is heartening to see the focus on the valued role of care worker. These members of staff receive a poor rate of pay which does not mirror the intrinsic role they play in caring for residents/clients.
    There are also some workers (both care workers and nurses) who are amazingly good as mentors to students on placement and should be recognised/remunerated accordingly. After all they are shaping the future workers, who will then shape the following…etc…etc.
    In relation to education/training the basics (ie person-centred care, holistic care, dignity, compassion. empathy, validation) MUST receive more focus but in a less academic, more experiential way (if you have seen a movie from the ’80s called ‘The Doctor’ with William Hurt as the lead actor you will know what I mean!).

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