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Catholic Health blames Govt for aged care nursing crisis

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has accused the Federal Government of "sitting on its hands" instead of facing up to the reality of increased cost of providing aged care.

Figures released yesterday reveal that nurses are deserting the aged care sector because the institutions cannot afford to match wages paid by hospitals, due to a shortfall in government subsidies.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says 9% of aged care nurses have deserted the sector, and the average age of aged care nurses is 47.

CHA CEO Francis Sullivan said: "It is little wonder nurses continue to leave aged care since the Commonwealth subsidy fails to keep pace with the real costs of wages, workers compensation and related expenses."

"CHA's most recent research indicates that this shortfall is approximately $248 million over the last twelve months."

"The Commonwealth can no longer remain sitting on its hands... [It] must not place aged care providers in the firing line to meet nurse wage movements when the government's funding formula fails to recognise the real costs of care, wage movements and best clinical practice."

"Quality nursing is essential to provide dignified and secure care for our frail and elderly. It's time for the Government to demonstrate its bona fides to uphold the dignity of every elderly person in need of care."

Aged Care Providers Not To Blame For Nurse Shortage (Catholic Health Australia 17/12/03)

Aged care nurse 'exodus' (AAP/ 17/12/03)
Poor pay blamed for less aged care nurses in Australia (Radio Australia 17/12/03)
Catholic Health Australia

18 Dec 2003