Queensland’s largest aged care provider Blue Care has this week fast-tracked corporate plans to reduce the quality of care they provide to elderly Queenslanders.
Blue Care this week announced further planned organisational changes that we fear will result in cuts to aged care nurse numbers at their Rockhampton, Gladstone, Yeppoon and Kingaroy facilities. Blue Care described the reduction in care as changes to the “service model.’’
Blue Care refuse to admit they are reducing nurse numbers - however a similar announcement in Bundaberg saw Blue Care cut 11 aged care nurses on August 29.
In Bundaberg, Blue Care nurses were replaced with Personal Carers who earn much less and have just six hours pharmacology experience. Despite vaguely worded assurances in a Blue Care media release this week, we remain concerned Blue Care will shift responsibility for the administration of potentially high-risk medications from nurses to PCs.
I call on all Queenslanders with elderly loved ones in Blue Care to seriously consider their welfare.
Replacing experienced nurses with PCs will put elderly lives at risk.
Blue Care’s suggestion their cost-cutting measures could “...improve the quality of care residents receive…” is as insulting as it is ridiculous.
Nurse numbers are already dangerously low. In fact, some aged care facilities do not have any nurses on shift overnight.
Blue Care houses thousands of residents state-wide. We fear without our resistance they will roll this initiative out throughout Queensland.
Blue Care is part of UnitingCare Queensland which recently reported a surplus of more than $40 million. Australian aged care providers are not doing it tough. The Australian Aged Care Financing Authority recently announced providers reported $1.1billion (before tax) profit during the 2015-16 financial year.
That’s a 17 per cent increase on the 2014-15 profit of $907 million.
Not for profit organisations reported an average profit of more than $10,000 per resident for the 2015-16 financial year. They can afford to hire nurses to properly medicate and look after their paying residents.
As paying residents, and as humans, elderly Queenslanders deserve quality of life and quality care. The QNMU are determined to fight for the state’s elderly and those who care for them.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union