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Government's aged care standards failing.

Government's Aged Care Standards Failing


Chris Evans - Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged


Media Statement - 22 March 2000


Reports of nursing homes without nurses and residents being served poor food are evidence of the systemic failure of the Government's aged system to set and maintain proper standards in aged care, Shadow Minister for the Aged, Senator Chris Evans, said today.


"I am highly concerned about the reports of nursing homes having no nursing staff rostered on nightshifts. This practice of cost cutting is inevitably placing residents at serious risk," said Senator Chris Evans, Shadow Minister for the Aged.


"It is totally unacceptable that some nursing homes, where residents often have complex medical needs, now operate shifts without trained nursing staff.


"The reports of nursing homes feeding residents on just $2.70 a day are an appalling indictment on the aged care policies of John Howard. It is impossible to provide an adequate diet to people on just $2.70 a day.


"This is where surprise inspections are needed to find out what is actually happening in nursing homes. There were no surprise inspections until February this year, when the Minister was criticised in the media over this issue.


"Bronwyn Bishop has been happy to give nursing homes notice of inspections and I have heard of facilities rostering on temporary staff and stocking up on food in preparation.


"Instead of constant vigilance, what we get is a Minister that only responds after the event, when something hits the front page of a newspaper. When she does act it inevitably is too little, too late for older Australians.


"The Minister's aged care sector forum is no solution to the immediate problem of the failure of the Government's standards and the inappropriate care being delivered to some nursing home residents.


"If Bronwyn Bishop had been doing her job she would know that these problems are not new. They have been growing since the Government introduced its aged care reforms in 1997.


"What we need is a commitment from the Government to urgently reform their aged care system and provide an opportunity for broad input into building a better aged care system.


"We also need more surprise inspections so that standards are properly monitored."


Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.