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Government legislates for quality aged care.

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Warwick Smith, MP

Minister for Family Services - Federal Member for Bass





11 August 1998


Federal Minister for Family Services Warwick Smith today amended legislative principles to ensure the provision of nursing services for residents of Commonwealth funded aged care facilities.


“Aged care providers are now legally required to provide nursing services to all high care level residents who need them,” Mr Smith said. “These nursing services must be delivered by registered nurses in a manner which complies with the Government’s standards for accreditation.”


The amended requirements ensure that nursing homes must continue to provide around the clock nursing services.


Hostels will be required to provide nursing services for more dependent residents who require them.


“Under Labor’s system, hostels provided care for increasingly dependent residents, but were neither required, nor funded, to provide nursing services. Residents and their families can now be assured that they will get the nursing services they need.


“These new arrangements will be closely and rigorously monitored. Any provider who seeks to avoid their obligations to residents will be dealt with in an appropriate manner.


“The Government’s new funding arrangements had delivered an overall 10% increase in funding to enable hostel providers to meet their legal obligations.


Mr Smith said that aged care industry’s accreditation framework was based on facilities having skilled and qualified staff in place to provide the nursing care required by residents. The independent Standards and Accreditation Agency, which monitors care standards, will give a priority to ensuring that the nursing requirements are met in full.


The new requirements were developed by a working group of consumers, providers and unions and have been publicly welcomed by both consumer and provider organisations.


The legislative amendments also address deficiencies in the previous requirements that had caused operational difficulties for hostels, particularly those specialising in care for people with dementia.


“I commend this joint initiative by consumers, providers and unions to specify nursing requirements and am pleased to be able to implement their recommendations,” Mr Smith said.


Contact:  John Wilson (02) 6277 7240, 0412 437 317