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Bupa aged care workers strike in VIC – but staffing remains a sector-wide issue

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The Australian is reporting that the aged care provider is planning to cut its nurse management workforce in half by merging its care manager and clinical manager roles into one new manager role, who will oversee staff, coordinate funding and manage the health of residents.

The news comes as staff at two of Bupa’s aged care homes stopped work yesterday, with seven more to follow after 14 months of pay negotiations with the provider.

Bupa says that the health of residents won’t be affected by the industrial action, but the coverage again raises the issue of pay rates and roles in aged care.

Southern Cross Care QLD, Blue Care and Churches of Christ QLD have each faced recent media scrutiny over staffing numbers and hours.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation accuses aged care providers of being unfair to staff, but the fact is that the media has focused consumers’ expectations, particularly around the issues of staffing and food in aged care.

The majority of consumers would be unaware that 68% of operators’ costs go on staff wages, according to StewartBrown.

Operators are already struggling to recruit workers, while the NDIS offers a much more attractive option.

Last week ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said that there needed to be a conversation with the community about aged care funding and costs. The Government and/or the consumer will need to pay for the services – and staff – to meet expectations.

Providers need to speak up now – and be ready to field questions in return.