Aged care rally in Bundaberg

Blue Care nurse given marching orders after 17 years

UPDATE: For 17 years, Enrolled Nurse Rosaleen Nicholls has provided care to the aged.

Now, Blue Care has given her marching orders and after almost two decades she'll be forced to walk away.

Hers is one of nine full-time equivalent positions being slashed from Blue Care's local facilities.

News nurses would be losing their jobs came as a "bombshell", Mrs Nicholls says.

"I firmly believe that the reduction in nursing hours will have severe ramifications for our residents that we care for," she said.

"We often work short - the carers on the floor, assistants in nursing and personal carers are forced to work short for various reasons."

Mrs Nicholls said when staff worked short, care such as showering would sometimes be dropped due to a burgeoning workload.

"When you work short, the residents' care isn't being taken care of," she said.

The claims are refuted by Blue Care, which has handed out a letter to families saying essential care was being provided.

The letter, penned by Blue Care Fraser Coast general manager Amanda Farrar, accused the media of a "number of inaccuracies", saying claims of residents not receiving timely medications, meals or showers due to staff shortages were "simply not true".

Darryl Hampson, Cheryl Dorron and Bev Pignet.
Darryl Hampson, Cheryl Dorron and Bev Pignet. Crystal Jones

EARLIER: Scores of people have turned out in a show of solidarity against aged care staff cuts.

The rally, held outside Blue Care's Pioneer aged care facility on Barolin St this morning, included nurses, personal carers, family members and residents.

Queensland Nurses and Midwife Union member and former Blue Care nurse of 43 years Cheryl Dorron spoke at the rally, saying enough was enough.

"Over the years we have witnessed at insidious and systematic move by providers, aided and abetted by government, to remove nursing from the provision of aged care," she said.

Blue Care recently announced it would slash 11 full-time equivalent positions from its three Bundaberg facilities, but later told the NewsMail that number would be dropped to nine.

Darryl Hampson, whose mother stays with Blue Care, at the rally.
Darryl Hampson, whose mother stays with Blue Care, at the rally. Crystal Jones

"It's a no-win situation for the residents with a further loss of quality care,the relatives who can have no confidence that care is being given in a timely manner and the staff who through no fault of their own don't have the numbers nor skills to provide that care at the time it is needed" Ms Dorron said.

"We need providers to be held accountable for how they spend government funding, we need nurse to resident ratios or funding specifically dedicated to nursing care."

An online petition calling on Blue Care to halt cuts to nursing staff has already gained 1456 online signatures and more on hard copy.

The petition can be found at: http://bit.ly/2uU1SkJ.

More to come



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