Vote against RNs will harm aged care residents

Susan Jenvey, right, says not having RNs in aged care facilities 24/7 will affect patient safety

Susan Jenvey, right, says not having RNs in aged care facilities 24/7 will affect patient safety

On May 11 the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, and the NSW government voted down a bill that would have re-introduced legislation for registered nurses (RNs) in aged care facilities to be available 24 hours a day.

“Having RNs available in nursing homes 24/7 is a social issue Labor will fight all the way to the next election,” Nambucca Shire councillor and ALP secretary for Oxley, Susan Jenvey said.

“This is a shameful vote from our local member, considering that 40 per cent of this electorate is over 60.

“This is about concrete, moral processes that safeguard, through legislation, the best interests of aged care residents.”

Ms Jenvey said it was Labor's view that if you let the market lead reform, people will get hurt and that the quality of care should be driving reform, not market driven supply.

“We have all heard the horror stories of incompetence and neglect in nursing homes. We are all fearful about this area of our lives, where people are extremely vulnerable.

“Having a RN on duty at all times reduces the likelihood of an unwell patient ending up in hospital. They have the training to pick up, and deal with signs of illness early. For other workers in aged care, like assistants and enrolled nurses, having an RN available has the added benefits of setting the standards of a professional level of over-sight for high quality care.”

She said Labor had widespread support for this issue with strong lobbying from the Country Womens Association, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, NSW Council of Social Services, NSW Australian Aging Agenda, NSW Rural Doctors, Palliative Care NSW, Palliative Care Australia, and NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

“The Nationals and Liberals have voted down this bill with a bias towards aged care providers. They have changed the system to a, 'patient centered care and flexibility' model that places providers needs over best practices for end users … RNs in nursing homes 24 hours a day has been a requirement in aged care facilities for 25 years.

“This is an issue that goes to the heart of who we are, and how we see ourselves in the future.”