A rally was held to protest cuts to aged care nurses.
A rally was held to protest cuts to aged care nurses. Crystal Jones

Claims cuts to nursing are killing the elderly

PROFITS are being placed before lives in aged care facilities and it's often the public system left to foot the bill.

Those are claims made by organisers and participants at the Bundaberg Rally for the Elderly held at Blue Care's Pioneer Lodge nursing home yesterday.

The NewsMail broke the news of staff cuts last month when nurses were told 11 full-time equivalent positions would be slashed at Blue Care's three local facilities.

That number has since been reduced to nine, according to Blue Care.

Yesterday, the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union called on all levels of government and the community to get behind ensuring aged care providers were held accountable.

In a statement read out on behalf of the QNMU's assistant secretary Sandra Eales, horrific claims are made about the state of aged care.

"There's not enough nursing hours for the care that's needed, not even the glossy stuff but just the basic needs,” Ms Eales said.

She said aged care deaths had quadrupled and many were caused by falling over, often because residents were making attempts to get to a bathroom unassisted when nurses were busy.

Pioneer resident Lesley Taylor, who is about to turn 94, said he was supporting the rally because he knew nurses were overworked.

"I'm just hoping to reinforce the message,” he said.

One union member said one in 10 hospital admissions were aged care related, with each visit costing about $5000.

"What they're saving ends up in people being sicker and sicker and passing the costs off on the hospital system,” she said.

Bundaberg man Darryl Hampson said he was deeply concerned about his mother's well-being as a resident in a Blue Care facility.

"Mum's nails couldn't even be trimmed and she scratched herself,” he said, adding that she was often left in her own waste or in clothing and bedding making her too hot.

A petition to stop Blue Care's nursing cuts has been launched and already has almost 1500 signatures. It can be found at: http://bit.ly/2uU1SkJ.

Another petition, launched by Coral Cove's Heather Mansell Brown, calls for safe staffing levels in aged care.

The petition has had almost 40,000 signatures and came in the wake of the NewsMail's coverage of Ms Mansell Brown's concerns for her husband who she said was left covered in faeces and suffering a bleeding scrotum.

She attributed his condition to a lack of adequate staffing at TriCare.

The petition can be found at: http://bit.ly/2mkWx2C.



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