Window on the future of Australian aged care workforce: NZ in nursing crisis

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Reported in the NZ Herald, the New Zealand Aged Care Association CEO Simon Wallace (pictured) says the nurse vacancy rate has accelerated since August, when 500 of 5,000 nurses positions were unfilled.

Wallace said what was a trickle of nurses leaving in anticipation of the better conditions being negotiated under the DHB Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) for registered nurses, has turned into a torrent since the settlement in August.

Everyday members were ringing and emailing him about more nurses lost because of the pay gap.

“Why aren’t we seeing government respond in the same way (to the teachers shortage) and bring in hundreds of registered nurses from overseas to ease the desperate shortages in our aged residential care facilities?” Wallace is quoted.

The annual turnover of nurses has jumped from 26% in February last year to 38% in August.

Nurses were removed as a category in the long-term shortage skills list for immigration in 2016.

Question: if the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association is successful in achieving mandated nursing ratios in aged care in Australia, where will the nurses come from?

Operators ask us how they will secure registered nurses for instance in Carnarvon (900 km north of Perth) for 24/7 roster coverage. They say pay is not the issue even if they could afford higher wages.

A Royal Commission discussion….

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