RACGP co-signs open letter to PM over aged care staffing levels

Doug Hendrie

14/12/2018 3:35:15 PM

The RACGP and other peak medical bodies are urgently calling for minimum staffing levels in aged care.

The RACGP signed the letter along with the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.
The RACGP signed the letter along with the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

‘Older Australians, those who cared for us as we grew, are entitled to affordable, accessible and high-quality aged care services delivered by a professionally trained, accredited and dedicated workforce. They do not deserve the current, chronic understaffing that leads to unnecessary pain and suffering,’ the letter reads.
‘Right now we don’t measure up, but we can, and we can become the world leader in care for the elderly.
‘[T]he only way we can be sure that every elderly Australian has access to the safe and best practice care they deserve is to legislate minimum staffing ratios in aged care.
‘Staffing ratios need not stifle innovation. Instead, they can lay the foundation on which better quality standards can be built. And while mandated staffing ratios alone are not the only indicator of high quality aged care services, it is certain that high quality care cannot be achieved without them.’
The letter has been signed by the RACGP, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) as part of a bid to put aged care staffing levels firmly on the national agenda. 
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP reform in the sector is necessary.
‘It is important for the RACGP to see reforms when it comes to aged care to make sure that we as GPs can continue to deliver high-quality care,’ he said.
‘The ability for a patient to make the informed choice to retain their trusted GP when they go into out-of-home care is one of the most important mechanisms for safety and patient satisfaction.
‘GPs should be supported to deliver high quality care for our patients no matter if they are in a residential aged care facility or not.’
The Federal Government is holding a royal commission into aged care, with its first report expected by 31 October next year.
However, the peak healthcare bodies are calling for more rapid change.
‘The Aged Care Royal Commission is important and necessary, but it should not mean a delay in reforms. If we continue to delay doing what we know is right it means at least another 18 months of pain and suffering for the elderly and, potentially, too many undignified deaths,’ the letter states.
‘Studies identify that the main reason for missed care, or low-quality care, in residential aged care facilities is that there is not enough staff available. And in a sector with an increasingly poor record of recruitment and retention of nurses and other key staff, shortages are now reaching critical proportions.’


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Dr.Vinod lal   18/12/2018 6:59:53 AM

I totally agree with the recommendations.
Also it is noted that there are certain health groups which is owned by non-doctors where they recruit Gps to do nursing home visits.One good example is Hawl Health based in Perth but running nursing home care in other states.
This is is slap on Gps face where Local Gps around the NH misses out.Such a group is not there when needed as they are 100s of km away and care is not continuous.Billings are also not legitimate as who ever accompanies Gps does the billings.
This needs to stop and the only way is Local Gps around the NH to provide care as they are readily available if needed.

julie parker   20/12/2018 12:17:55 PM

My family has experienced more stress and trauma than we ever imagined before putting Mum into care and my 80 year old Dad is now a broken man. The pathetic staff ratios lead to all sorts of dangerous, even terrifying situations. Mum has been the victim of verbal and physical abuse and for all we can know, sexual violation is also very possible in this environment. There are too many unsupervised areas (34 in our case) where things can and do happen and too few underpaid and overworked AINs who simply cannot keep people safe. It is like herding cats! When we react badly to finding Mum with a male resident behind his closed door with her pants halfway down . . .staff tell us it is harmless and it is made our problem. When a man grabbed me by the throat and I could not breathe, I am told he is just a "gentle giant"' The whole thing is a crazy surreal circus, and this is at one of the "premium"properties. We are looking elsewhere but they all seem to have the same problem - too many unsafe, unsupervised areas and too few staff. Mum is in the high care dementia unit for which a gravy train of tax payer funds is received but where is it? It is not being spent for more or better care . . oh, that's right . . it goes straight to the $210 billion in profits the top providers share. I am ashamed of my country. We are so rich and yet the most vulnerable . . elderly, unable to express their needs, often demented . . are treated like it is the third world. I am ashamed of our government for protecting profits and not my poor Mum. Families are exhausted by the stress and have no fight left in them . . we need urgent help to advocate for our elderly.

Chelsea   28/12/2018 1:10:24 PM

It’s time to make a change!