CEO responds to staff complaints and protests at Tasmanian aged care home

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The chief executive of one of Tasmania’s biggest aged care facilities has refuted complaints from staff concerned about understaffing, “unmanageable workloads” and the facility’s preparedness for a second wave of COVID-19.

Staff from OneCare Umina Park in Burnie, around 300km north of Hobart, launched a letterbox campaign to draw support from the community earlier this month.

This culminated in a protest on Tuesday, with a group of around 30 people consisting of staff, union members and supporters pressing the facility’s owners to bring on more workers.

Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) Assistant State Secretary Robbie Moore said OneCare has failed to address the problem of understaffing.

“With residents starting to be impacted by the chronic understaffing, staff now feel they have no option but to try and win community support,” he said.

But OneCare CEO Peter Williams rejected this assertion, telling The Mercury the facility consistently meets the standards set by the aged care regulator.

“All OneCare Limited facilities hold a five out of five star compliance rating against the Aged Care Accreditation Standards as observed on the MyAgedCare website,” Mr Williams said.

“The latest StewartBrown survey (an accepted industry benchmarking tool) for June indicated that Umina Park staffing levels exceeded both the national and state averages in care hours and total staff hours.

“Over the past 10 months, Umina Park’s work hours have continued to increase well outside the approved budget despite the decreasing occupancy levels.”

Mr Williams added that an additional 18 staff had been recruited since July 2020 and 12 hours of care per day had been added to the roster.

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