Unions and health bodies weigh in on Royal Commission’s recommendations

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Unions and leading health bodies have responded to the Senior Counsel’s recommendations for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.  

A breakthrough moment for the sector but immediate action needed – unions

Health Services Union national president Gerard Hayes described the recommendations as a “breakthrough moment” for the sector, arguing they necessitate immediate investment in the size and skills of the aged care workforce.

“Peter Rozen QC and Peter Gray QC have explicitly recognised resident care won’t improve unless we significantly invest in the size and skills of the workforce, which is horrendously casualised and fragmented,” he said.

“There is now no excuse for inaction. The government should adopt the recommendations today, not wait another four months.”

United Workers Union aged care director Carolyn Smith backed up calls for action, saying reports and residents should not have to wait.

“The disaster is unfolding right here, right now,” she said.

We need more time on the ground in aged care – Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) also backed recommendations by the Senior Counsel, in particular supporting the proposal to embed pharmacists in all aged care facilities.

PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman says pharmacists will be critical to the medicine safety of older Australians.

“PSA is pleased counsel assisting has adopted our recommendation for pharmacists to have a greater role in aged care and be embedded in these environments,” he said.

“We maintain pharmacists need to be able to spend more time on the ground in aged care, to be able to protect residents when it comes to the safe and effective use of medicines.”

Concerns have finally been heard – Dementia Australia

Dementia Australia welcomed dementia-specific recommendations regarding tailored care pathways, specialist services, service design and workforce capability.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said these indicate the concerns of people living with dementia and their families have finally been heard.

“We are especially pleased to see the recommendation for immediate funding for education and training for the current workforce, with a focus on dementia,” she said.

“Dementia Australia has long advocated for mandatory workforce training in dementia care. Improved care for people living with dementia starts with better knowledge and understanding of dementia and how it can impact individuals, and it is heartening to see this reflected.”


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