The Department of Health is seeking feedback on a discussion paper to inform a future scheme for regulating aged care workers.

Such a scheme aims to improve the quality and safety of aged care, enhance the protection and choice of consumers, protect the rights of workers and minimise the cost to all stakeholders, the paper said.

The Aged Care Worker Regulation Scheme Consultation paper, which was released last week,  highlights how aged care workers are currently screened and regulated and the subsequent limitations.

It also details features of existing and comparable screening and registration schemes such as minimum qualifications, ongoing professional development, criminal history assessments and  English language proficiency.

The consultation responds to several inquiries and reports in the last five years recommending  a  screening or registration scheme for aged care workers.

Most recently, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Rozen called for unregulated aged care workers to be subject to registration and minimum qualifications (read our story here).

Concerns among stakeholders include that unsuitable workers can move between providers and care settings and that critical staff including personal care workers do not have adequate qualifications or skills, according to the paper.

The consultation paper:

  • outlines the objectives of any new worker screening or registration scheme
  • identifies  key issues a  worker screening or registration scheme could potentially address
  • describes models used in related sectors, such as health and disability
  • proposes various features and options for a worker screening or registration scheme
  • seeks feedback on the options and issues.

Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said LASA supported the concept of an aged care worker regulation scheme.

Sean Rooney

“It is imperative the people who deliver care and services across aged care are acknowledged for their qualifications, work and dedication,” Mr Rooney told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“A well-designed scheme will help ensure a stream of suitable people come into the care sector, at a time when staffing rates are forecast to grow strongly. It will streamline access to care careers and contribute to the professionalism required to maintain and improve standards,” Mr Rooney said.

Mr Rooney said LASA would be participating in the consultation and he encouraged other stakeholders to contribute to the development of the scheme. 

The health department is seeking input from all individuals and organisations with an interest in the aged care sector.

The consultation’s online survey closes on 29 June.

Access the consultation paper and survey here.

Comment below to have your say on this story. Subscribe to Australian Ageing Agenda magazine and sign up to the AAA newsletter

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. If they bring out a registration for care workers that have over 4 years experience should classify them a assistance nurse Australia wide otherwise Care nurses . Often they know the residents more and the changes then handover to the RN but at many times they are Iignored . Good Carers do work with the residents more and consoles with them . Carers are the eyes and ears of the aged . For the work they do the pay is low .

  2. coupled with the establishment of thee new Aged Care training organisation recommended in the workforce strategy , this may be the answer to a number of problems. It will only work however if thre providers are able to accept a change in the culture of the sector.

  3. Good idea as long as being able to speak, read and write fluent English is part of the criteria.

  4. Re: Steve
    I agree a standard name such as assistant in nursing (AIN) or personal care worker (PCW) as a registration standard however not use the name nurse in the title as that would further confuse the public. Care workers are incredibly important but they are not nurses.

  5. This would be a positive move across the country I believe, I know of some care workers who have been sacked for theft and poor care and attention and then they pop up somewhere else in the same job and somehow find people to give them a reference. I agree that care workers need to be payed more, you should not get paid more for stocking shelves at supermarkets. The role needs to be given more credit, they are a big cog in the machine and can mean passing audits or failing audits. In this country we do rely on overseas workers to fill many care worker roles, especially in certain areas, so we will need to ensure that we support these people in passing any English tests, so that the gaps in staffing do not get wider.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.