Student loans should be waived for aged care workers looking to upgrade their qualifications to nursing to build up the skilled workforce needed to deliver 24/7 care in nursing homes, according to a peak advocacy group. Source: The Australian.
The Aged and Community Care Providers Association has also called for a new visa category to bring to Australia migrants willing to work in aged care to help plug a looming shortfall of workers and nurses in aged care homes should be offered pay parity with others in the health sector.
The policy proposals are contained in ACCPA’s new submission to the Albanese Government on its amending legislation to bring in mandatory 24/7 registered nursing care in all residential aged care facilities from July 1, as the body calls for flexibility from the Government, with some homes struggling to source qualified staff to meet the deadline.
ACCPA says the sector accepts the Government’s plan to implement a system providing at least one registered nurse on-site in aged care homes at all times, but it needs support in the transition, particularly for the first 12 months.
“Our sector understands Australians want to be assured of robust arrangements for the clinical care of older people, but they don’t want to see them adversely affected by unintended consequences of legislation,” ACCPA chief executive Tom Symondson said.
He said 80 per cent of providers already have 24/7 registered nursing care but “persistent workforce shortages in aged care, made more severe by Covid, mean some providers will struggle to find enough staff” by the July 1 deadline.
Aged Care Minister Anika Wells has said the Government will take a commonsense approach between now and the deadline in terms of providers struggling to meet registered nursing requirements.
Incentives needed for aged care workers to study nursing (By Stephen Lunn, The Australian)