ONE Tamworth nurse says hospitals will be overloaded from inevitably picking up the slack from the state government’s decision to abandon the requirement for around-the-clock registered nurses in aged care facilities.
Tamworth NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) member Gerard Ryan has more than 23 years’ experience in nursing and says there are real concerns with the decision and would like to see a rethink at state level.
“More and more people are coming into the system and they’re becoming more unwell,” Mr Ryan said of the aged care system.
“Without a registered nurse on, they’ll just end up sending people to the hospital and overload their system.”
NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, responded to the inquiry into around-the-clock aged care nursing with the intention to remove the legal requirement for a registered nurse to be on site at all times in NSW facilities.
The minister advised the state government would follow the lead of Commonwealth legislation which does not recognise the need for a registered nurse 24/7.
Mr Ryan said the move could see a “decline in care standards” taking highly skilled workers out of facilities when they are needed, and was convinced the decision was all about the bottom line.
Mr Ryan said right now there are registered nurses providing 24/7 care and thought that level should “at least be maintained”.
Mr Ryan told The Leader he got great satisfaction from his job, building relationships with patients and families.
“In hospitals, you might deal with a patient for three or four days before they are discharged, in some cases I’ve been dealing with some patients for nearly 10 years,” he said.
The NSWNMA has vowed to continue lobbying for the cause and is planning to call NSW MLCs to “stand up” for the elderly.