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Laborís Aged Care Policy Will Improve Care01 October 2004
Laborís aged care policy announced today should ensure that the current crisis in aged care begins to be turned around.
HSU national secretary, Craig Thomson, said the policy would help address the most pressing problem in the industry - the quality of care in residential facilities.
"The Federal Government has repeatedly ignored the concerns of staff and residents that care standards are not good enough because there are no minimum standards of care required and no minimum staffing levels," he said.
"Labor has listened to families and to the staff who care for the elderly. This policy will for the first time ever lead to the establishment of a benchmark of care which everybody in the industry supports.
"That benchmark of care includes minimum staffing levels. Under Labor we will not have the dangerous and unacceptable situation which is common in the industry where no staff member is even awake in a facility at night or you have one staff member looking after 50 or more residents.
"Minimum staffing levels provide a basic guarantee of care in an aged care facility that does not exist now.
"A study commissioned by the government this year pointed out the care crisis in the industry due to understaffing but the minister has failed to act.
"Labor is also ensuring hundreds of millions in taxpayers funding is not handed to the industry without any accountability as is currently the case. Funding needs to be tied to better training, best practice care and better wages for care staff who can earn less than a garbage collector.
"The HSU also fully supports the changes to the way the accreditation agency that policies the industry runs.
" We need a decent regime of spot checks and enforcement not the current system where you might get one visit in three years to a facility.
"Families who have an elderly relative going into aged care and staff want to know that the every facility will be kept up to standard by a rigorous accreditation system not a woefully inadequate one."
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