The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has called for the introduction of a regulation regime for unlicensed workers in aged care in its submission to the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission.
“Employing an unskilled and unregulated workforce is not only false economy but can potentially threaten the dignity and safety of one of the most vulnerable groups in our society – the frail aged,” the submission reads.
The focus of the ANF’s submission is on strengthening primary care to provide better support to peoplw with chronic illnesses and prevent unnecessary hospitalisations.
ANF Federal Secretary Ged Kearney said this was particularly important for older consumers.
“Older people often have complex health problems that require specialist nursing care and we need to ensure qualified nursing staff remain in aged care,” she said.
“It is difficult for GPs to deliver primary health care to aged care facilities, but there are great models of nurse practitioner led care in the sector that need to be considered.”
The submission also draws attention to the fact that nurses working in aged care, on average earn $20,000 less than their colleagues in the acute sector.
“Unless these issues are addressed, we will see an ever increasing risk to the safety and quality of care for frail and vulnerable older people with more unnecessary and preventable hospital admissions,” said Ms Kearney.