The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), is working closely with the Federal Government, health departments and industry stakeholders on contingency plans to stop the transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the aged care workforce and elderly, vulnerable nursing home residents.
The ANMF is warning that urgent, co-ordinated action is needed to increase the numbers of qualified nurses and carers working in the already, understaffed aged care sector. This follows confirmation today that a long-term employee of an aged care facility at Macquarie Park, in Sydney, had contracted Coronavirus.
Assistant Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp, says the ANMF is also supporting calls from the ACTU, for the Government to provide an economic support for the aged care workforce impacted by a potential outbreak of Coronavirus, given the high-percentage of workers that are casual employees.
“As we know, the aged care sector is already dangerously understaffed. A potential outbreak and consequent lockdowns in nursing homes could result in a depleted workforce, with reduced numbers of qualified staff on the ground caring for elderly residents,” Ms Sharp said today.
“As nurses on the frontline, we are calling on the Government to urgently increase the numbers of registered nurses in nursing homes, not just relying on hospital Emergency Departments.
“The contingency plans must also ensure there are enough supplies and equipment in the event of an outbreak in the aged care system, particularly PPE.
“Our elderly are more vulnerable than others in the community, many of them with co-morbidities – they are most at risk.
“It is crucial that in the event of an outbreak of the Coronavirus, the aged care industry is fully-prepared to treat the elderly and stop further transmission.
Ms Sharp says the ANMF and its State and Territory branches continue to provide its members working in the health and aged care sectors with support and advice in relation to Coronavirus.
ANMF media release authorised by Lori-Anne Sharp, ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.
The ANMF, with over 280,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.
ANMF media inquiries: Richard Lenarduzzi 0411 254 390