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It’s be­yond time for a royal com­mis­sion into aged care

The Courier-Mail - - LETTERS -

SO THE top six for-profit aged-care providers re­ported prof­its of $224 mil­lion for 2017 but can­not af­ford to in­crease staff and guar­an­tee 4.3 hours of di­rect nurs­ing care — “Aged care in­quiry rules out set nurse to pa­tient ra­tio”, (C-M, Sep 14).

They must be jok­ing – 72 per cent of their rev­enue ($2.17 bil­lion) comes from tax­pay­ers and the rest from res­i­dents who live in their fa­cil­i­ties. Fed­eral Aged Care Min­is­ter Ken Wy­att (pic­tured) en­dorsed the report and said aged care must be­come “a ca­reer of choice”.

This panel is rec­om­mend­ing a vol­un­tary code of prac­tice, a so­cial change cam­paign, and a shift in neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes. Yet ex­perts and ev­i­dence tell us that what we need are more reg­is­tered and en­rolled nurses, man­dated nurse-to-res­i­dent ra­tios, and pub­licly avail­able met­rics about aged-care providers’ per­for­mance. Un­til that hap­pens, noth­ing will change and no one will be ac­count­able.

Un­like the busi­ness peo­ple who seem to dom­i­nate th­ese pan­els of in­quiry, the peo­ple who know how aged care works – the med­i­cal and health­care pro­fes­sion­als who de­liver the care – are ig­nored. Mr Wy­att needs to get his pri­or­i­ties straight and stop pan­der­ing to aged-care lob­by­ists and providers, and lis­ten to those who know.

When class ac­tions and a royal com­mis­sion fi­nally oc­cur, it will cost th­ese greedy aged-care providers much more in com­pen­sa­tion for their ne­glect of th­ese vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients.

John Mayze, Taringa THE only way to fix the prob­lem, es­pe­cially in high­care wards, is to have a pa­tient-nurse ra­tio. Th­ese peo­ple are more vul­ner­a­ble than kids in day­care and de­serve bet­ter care.

Lor­raine Man­teit, Ken­more

DE­SPITE hav­ing three dif­fer­ent prime min­is­ters in the past five years, the LNP has main­tained con­sis­tency of pol­icy by de­fer­ring ev­ery de­ci­sion un­til some time in the fu­ture.

The lat­est de­fer­ral de­vice is the pro­posed royal com­mis­sion into aged care, when there have been per­sis­tent breaches of the ser­vice char­ter by al­most all of the ser­vice providers.

It is be­yond time that the Gov­ern­ment acted on th­ese breaches, but, as usual, it has again used a de­lay­ing tac­tic to pro­tect the per­pe­tra­tors while our el­derly cit­i­zens are con­tin­u­ally be­ing abused at the al­tar of profit and greed.

Just like cli­mate change, power and en­ergy, wel­fare equal­ity, tax­a­tion, wages, in­fra­struc­ture and unem­ploy­ment, the LNP has been very ver­bose with flow­ery rhetoric, but sadly miss­ing on ac­tion.

Max Tanzer, El­liott Heads FI­NALLY it has dawned on an Aus­tralian prime min­is­ter that the scan­dal-rid­den, aged-care sec­tor is in dire need of a royal com­mis­sion. So be­lated con­grat­u­la­tions, Scott Mor­ri­son, on in­sti­gat­ing some­thing pos­i­tive which even La­bor will sup­port.

Eric Palm, Gympie

THE words “ne­glect and staff short­ages are rife in nurs­ing homes in Queens­land” ( C-M, Sep 15) should make all of us im­me­di­ately afraid. If not for our el­derly rel­a­tives, then for our­selves.

A re­cent au­dit found that aged-care fa­cil­i­ties in our state are in cri­sis. Most staff in nurs­ing homes are not nurses and pa­tients are rou­tinely forced to wait for hours as pain re­lief has to be given to them by reg­is­tered nurses.

Nearly 80 per cent of pa­tients were not prop­erly washed, fed, ex­er­cised or turned in their beds to pre­vent bed sores. Staff said they lacked enough time to feed pa­tients who were in­ca­pable of do­ing so them­selves.

El­derly pa­tients who re­quire a high de­gree of care re­ceive only 1.69 hours of care per shift, well be­low the stan­dard of 4.3 hours of care.

Lizzie Hay­don, Runcorn

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