Nurses Union worried about Gympie's aged care
THE Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union is urging Gympie Blue Care facilities Grevillea Gardens and Blue Care Respite Care to not follow in the steps of other regional areas and give registered nurse responsibilities to unskilled carers.
After the recent cut of at least 11 nurses at Bundaberg, and with similar decisions being made in Emerald and Maleny, QMNU secretary Beth Mohle said people had a right to demand safe care for their aged family members.
"Everybody should be concerned,” she said.
"Everybody should be asking 'who is handing out medication?'”
The QMNU has not heard of any proposal to reduce staff numbers at Gympie's Blue Care facilities and Ms Mohle said she hoped it stayed that way.
"There is no valid excuse for reducing the already dangerously low number of nurses in Queensland aged care facilities,” she said.
"Many facilities have no nurses overnight, or even outside office hours as Australian law does not require even a single registered nurse be on site at an aged care facility at all times.”
She said it was "totally unacceptable” that care facilities could be cutting right when there was even more need for aged care.
Given their revenue, there was "no reason UnitingCare should cut nurse numbers and reduce the quality of care elderly residents receive”.
Ms Mohle said the job advertisements which were being run in Bundaberg only emphasised concerns.
"According to BlueCare's ads, all some carers require are a First Aid certificate, a CPR certificate and a driver's license,” she said.
"Allowing untrained staff to administer complex medication to the elderly and failing to provide sufficient nursing care is elder neglect and must not be tolerated.”
As of last year UnitingCare Queensland has more than $1 billion in revenue, and Ms Mohle said they had also recently reported a $40 million surplus.
She said this was in direct contrast to their claims "the reduction in care would benefit Queensland's elderly by allowing the aged care provider to continue to provide 'sustainable' services”.
"This cost-cutting measure could see staff with just six hours pharmacology training giving the elderly potentially fatal combinations of complex medications,” she said.
Blue Care was contacted for comment on whether any changes could be expected at Gympie's aged care facilities, but were unavailable due to the Brisbane Show Holiday.