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Royal College of Nursing appointed to help administer aged care component of the workfoce.



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THE HON JUSTINE ELLIOT MP

Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

Royal College of Nursing Appointed to Help Administer

15 August 2008

Aged Care Component of the Workforce

The Royal College of Nursing Australia has been appointed to administer the $6.9 million aged care component of the Bringing Nurses Back into the Workforce program.

The Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot has announced the Royal College of Nursing Australia would assess applications from returning nurses and coordinate the payments to eligible nurses and aged care providers.

“Nurses are an important part of the aged care system and they deserve our support,” Mrs Elliot said.

“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that older Australians receive quality care and an appropriately skilled workforce is a key part of this,” she said.

The Bringing Nurses Back into the Workforce Program is part of a $138.9 million measure to bring 8,750 extra nurses into the Australian health and ageing workforce within five years, as well as funding up to an extra 1,170 university nursing places a year.

This plan includes $6.9 million to help bring 1,000 nurses back into our nursing homes.

The plan will provide a cash bonus to nurses who are returning to the profession after an absence of more than 12 months. Nurses who meet the eligibility criteria and have returned to work in Commonwealth funded nursing homes on or after 15 January 2008 may be eligible to receive cash payments of up to $6,000.

The cash payment will be paid in two instalments; one payment at six months of up to $3,000, with the second payment of up to $3,000 available at 18 months.

These measures are in addition to the Australian Government’s recent scholarships offer for undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students. The scholarships are for students interested in specialising in aged care and offer up to $10,000 per postgraduate applicant and $30,000 per undergraduate applicant.

“This is about getting nurses back into nursing homes and recognises the difficulties being faced by the industry in attracting and retaining appropriately skilled staff,” Mrs Elliot said.

There are about 30,000 qualified nurses in Australia who are currently outside the nursing workforce, including thousands of former aged care nurses.

There are almost 3,000 nursing homes delivering care to more than 170,000 older Australians. This plan will encourage nurses to return to nursing in aged care and improve the health and well being of older Australians living in nursing homes.

Their skills are in high demand, and we are committed to ensuring they receive the assistance they need when they return to work. To this end, we will be providing up to $1,000 per nurse to the aged care employer to assist with retraining costs.

“The Australian Government is working closely with the aged care industry to encourage nurses who have been out of the nursing workforce for 12 months to consider returning to the nursing workforce and in particular, to aged care,” Mrs Elliot said.

The Department of Health and Ageing has been working with Aged and Community Services Australia, Aged Care Association of Australia and the Australian Nursing Federation on the detail of how Bringing Nurses Back into the Workforce would operate.

“This is about working in partnership to improve aged care and ending the blame game in health,” Mrs Elliot said.

For further information about the Bringing Nurses Back into the Workforce program please contact the Royal College of Nursing Australia on 1800 553 252 or visit the their web site www.rcna.org.au.

For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280