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HSU Calls for Senate Inquiry into Aged Care03 November 2003
The Health Services Union is calling for a Senate inquiry into aged care after the latest revelations of terrible nursing home standards, understaffing and inadequate safety levels for residents and staff.
HSU National Secretary Craig Thomson said two new reports on the Annandale Nursing Home and the Albury and District Nursing Home demonstrated the extent of the crisis in the industry.
Both face closure unless standards improve dramatically.
At Annandale government inspectors discovered:
At the Albury and District Nursing Home, the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency passed the home on all 44 standards in January only to have to return six months later to find endemic problems similar to those uncovered over three years at the home including:
Mr Thomson said the huge inconsistencies in the reports prepared by the ACSAA inspectors and the vague accreditation standards were exacerbated by severe understaffing problems in the industry.
A survey by the HSU found one in four staff felt there was a danger to their safety in showing up for work.
"The neglect of elderly residents and the poor working conditions for staff must come to an end,'' Mr Thomson said.
"The HSU is calling for a Senate inquiry to focus on safety, staffing levels and training in the industry and the way these problems are impacting on the care of residents.
"The inquiry also needs to look at how the failings of the ACSAA are impacting on both residents and staff.
The NSW secretary of the HSU Michael Williamson said there were too many aged care facilities in the state with grossly inadequate staffing levels.
"How can residents and their families have confidence in an aged care system that does not have minimum staffing levels in place to provide some basic guarantee about the quality of care that will be delivered?" he said.
"It is clear that with the agency given the job of policing the job doing such a poor job and the fact it can be years between visits of inspectors there must be basic standards on staffing and safety that can be enforced."
The reports on Albury and Annandale can be found under current reports at: http://www.accreditation.aust.com/reports/acsasearch.asp
The sanctions placed on the homes can be found at: