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Lazarus backs nurses on staffing concerns

The Palmer United Party has thrown its weight behind the ANMF’s ongoing campaign to improve nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in aged care.

ANMF leaders met with senator Glenn Lazarus in Canberra earlier this week and said the PUP Senate leader pledged his commitment to resolving what the federation described as a nursing crisis in the sector.

ANMF federal secretary Lee Thomas said that with a current shortfall of 20,000 aged-care nurses nationwide, Lazarus agreed with the need for urgent measures to address the workforce problem.

“The senator appreciated these concerns and the lack of quality care in some nursing homes because of poor staffing, as these issues had also been raised by community members in his home state of Queensland,” Thomas said. “With a rapidly ageing population, it is crucial that we have enough qualified nurses to care for older Australians living in nursing homes, because the lack of mandated staffing levels is putting patients at risk.

Thomas thanked Lazarus for his support of the campaign and said she hoped the senator would raise the issue with the health minister, Sussan Ley. Thomas added that Ley had so far refused to meet with the ANMF despite a pledge by the minister to be more consultative with the health sector regarding any reform measures.

In a statement to Aged Care Insite, Ley said the ANMF had previously been offered a “meeting with my office to discuss Australia’s health system, particularly Medicare”.

“I am hopeful to meet with all key stakeholders, including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, throughout the consultation,” she said.

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