The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is calling on the federal government to introduce ratio laws for nursing home care, after Nazareth Care Ballarat has proposed making 22 endorsed enrolled nurses redundant.
The number of redundancies equates to 10.35 equivalent full time positions.
The Courier understand the accredited aged care facility is proposing to replace the positions with 3.32 equivalent full time registered nurses and 7.88 equivalent full time personal care workers.
ANMF Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said she was concerned that the majority of endorsed enrolled nurses were being replaced with personal care workers.
“Endorsed enrolled nurses have a diploma and qualifications in pharmacology and medication administration and the loss of these positions will leave a significant gap in resident care,” she said.
“Australia has strict ratios for childcare, but there are no ratios in nursing homes and no laws to ensure the elderly get the care they need.
“The number of staff and their qualifications matter. That’s why the Federal Government must make ratios law now.”
Nazareth House Ballarat general manager Tanya Barun said the changes to staff would increase the number of university-qualified division 1 registered nurses at the home on morning, afternoon and night shifts.
“(This) will ensure that additional clinical expertise is available for residents and families,” she said.
“We are very proud of the quality of care we provide at Nazareth Care Ballarat. Having the right skills and the best staffing mix to meet residents’ needs, now and in the future, is a critical part of this.
“Over recent months Nazareth Care Ballarat has undertaken a detailed review to establish the best staffing model for our home. The review has involved seeking expert independent advice to look at our projected future needs and industry best practice.”
ANMF is supporting nurses who are losing their jobs, some who have been employed at Nazareth Care Ballarat for decades.
“We are supporting them through the redundancy process as there are no feasible redeployment options with other Nazareth Care nursing homes interstate or in New Zealand,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
Ms Barun said Nazareth Care understood it was not an easy time for staff who may be affected.
“We will continue to keep staff fully informed. Nazareth Care is committed to treating staff with dignity and respect and will continue to do so,” she said.