The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is outraged that Blue Care, an agency of UnitingCare Queensland, has sacked 11 highly qualified enrolled nurses across its Bundaberg facilities.
ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the loss of so many nurses, in addition to a reduction of more than 1540 in nursing and care hours, will see vulnerable residents suffer.
“This is nothing short of a disgrace,” Ms Thomas said today.
“Sadly, it just proves that providers like Blue Care cannot be trusted in providing proper, safe levels of staff to deliver care to their nursing home residents.
“The ANMF is appalled that Blue Care can get away with sacking 11 enrolled nurses and then be cynically advertising for minimally-trained personal care workers to replace them, allowing untrained carers with only a First Aid Certificate to replace the sacked nurses.
“It not only diminishes the important roles that aged care nurses play in caring for vulnerable residents, many of whom suffer Dementia and have complex care needs, but it now will dramatically reduce the quality and quantity of care that residents will receive on a daily basis.
“Clearly, Blue Care doesn’t care and what’s disturbing is that the Federal Government is standing back and letting it happen.”
Ms Thomas said the ANMF’s ongoing national, online aged care survey has already identified cuts to nursing and care hours at nursing homes in Queensland and other States. Over 300 ANMF members have responded, with 94% reporting they are being asked to care for the same number of residents with fewer staff or less care hours. Over 89% say their current staffing levels simply aren’t adequate to ensure that basic care, including bathing and bed changes are being provided to residents.
“Now that Blue Care has gone ahead and made this unilateral decision to sack these nurses, we dread to think what the outcome will be for the residents in their Bundaberg facilities. The crisis in aged care has just got a whole lot worse,” Ms Thomas added.
Ms Thomas said the sacking of the Blue Care nurses will be “front and centre” of the ANMF’s urgent talks with Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt in Canberra this Thursday and will be followed by a “Rally for the Elderly”, to be held outside Blue Care’s Pioneer facility in Bundaberg, at 10am next Tuesday (15 August).
The ANMF, with over 259,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.
ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.