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Nursing homes without nurses.

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Chris Evans - Nursing Homes Without Nurses Thursday, 05 July 2001

Nursing Homes Without Nurses Chris Evans - Shadow Minister for the Aged

Media Statement - 2 July 2001

The warning today that a Victorian nursing home has been forced to use untrained staff to administer medications is further evidence of the ongoing aged care crisis under John Howard.

"We are fast getting to the point where we will have nursing homes without any nurses unless the Federal Government acts now," said Senator Chris Evans, Shadow Minister for the Aged.

"This is a very serious development, which will potentially put lives at risk.

"Nursing home providers and staff have approached me with concerns over the shortage of nurses in aged care.

"A recent survey showed that there are as many as 4500 vacant shifts in Victorian nursing homes every fortnight. Nurses have been working double shifts to cover those vacancies but inevitably many are filled with unqualified staff.

"The sector has been warning that the system will collapse for some time, yet the Federal Minister for Aged Care has done nothing to fix the problem.

"Under John Howard there has been a decline in the number of qualified aged care staff, at a time when aged residents require more intensive care.

"This decline has partly been driven by the widening wages gap between the aged care sector and the public hospital system.

"The Federal Government's aged care system has also imposed masses of paperwork on nursing staff, which discourages them from remaining in the sector.

"The problem will only get worse as the population ages.

"The Federal Government should urgently get together with industry representatives to develop an aged care workforce strategy that addresses the crisis now facing the sector." Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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