Pioneer Lodge and Gardens Aged Care Facility.
Pioneer Lodge and Gardens Aged Care Facility. Mike Knott BUN190717PIONEER2

Cuts leave aged care staff with blues

AGED care giant Blue Care has confirmed it will sack the equivalent of nine full time staff at two nursing homes in Bundaberg.

Staff at the Riverlea and Pioneer facilities copped the news yesterday after earlier consultations on changes to hours, rostering and its service model.

"Following consultation and looking at a number of options, regrettably we have had to make the difficult decision to reduce our Bundaberg team of 280 employees by the equivalent of 9 full time positions,” group executive regional and remote services Alan Wilson said.

The Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union has said this included at least 11 of about 17 enrolled nurses at the facilities, with a spokeswoman saying many were "distraught”.

"While BlueCare were planning to cut experienced aged care Enrolled Nurses, they were placing advertisements on Seek for carers at the same Bundaberg facilities,'' union secretary Beth Mohle said.

"According to BlueCare's ads, all some carers require are a First Aid certificate, a CPR certificate and a driver's license.

"Allowing untrained staff to administer complex medication to the elderly and failing to provide sufficient nursing care is elder neglect and must not be tolerated.”

Mr Wilson said the decision had "not been taken lightly”, and was due to - "but not limited to” - Federal Government cuts.

"Redundancies are always a last resort, after all other options have been exhausted,” Mr Wilson said.

"Changing client demand, fluctuating occupancy levels and current staffing models, well above the industry benchmark, have all been contributing factors in today's decision.”

But Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said decisions on staffing levels were "the responsibility of the aged care providers, not the Federal Government”.

"Under the Accreditation Standards, residential aged care providers must ensure adequate numbers of appropriately-skilled staff to meet the needs of care recipients,” Mr Pitt said.

"Federal Government funding for aged care in Hinkler increased by almost $3.7 million from 2014-15 to 2015-16.”

A rally will be held to protest the cuts outside the Blue Care Pioneer Aged Care Facility on the corner of Barolin and Heaps Sts at 10am next Tuesday, August 15.



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