Home | Industry & Reform | Labor breaks 24/7 nursing deadline

Labor breaks 24/7 nursing deadline

Labor has admitted it will miss its self-imposed deadline to have 24/7 registered nurses on-site at every Australian aged care home in a significant about-face on an election promise.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells has said the sector is "thousands short" of the workers and confirmed one-in-20 facilities would not meet the new nursing requirements by the cut-off date of July 1 2023.

"We're not kicking down the doors of facilities come July 1 if they have not met the requirement," Wells said.

"We're working closely with them to ensure they get the exemptions and support, as do their residents, that they need."

Labor made a $2.5bn commitment to improving aged care last year when it was still in opposition.

Promises included bringing forward some of the royal commission's recommendations into the troubled sector, such as new staffing and care requirements.

The Albanese government enshrined the mandates in law despite the sector raising significant concerns about the lack of nurses available. 

Federal data showed last month that the sector would be short of nearly 12,000 registered nurses.

As the July 1 deadline loomed, Wells said on Monday more than 80 per cent of facilities were currently meeting the 24/7 requirements.

 About 9 per cent were "nearly there", and about 5 per cent — mainly in rural and remote areas — wouldn't get there in time.

Aged care providers are invited to talks with the government about getting an exemption from the deadline, with facilities in very remote areas or those with fewer than 30 beds automatically exempt.

Only those that complete the deadline will get nursing funding from the government.

"If they can't meet the 24/7 mandate, they won't get the payment for meeting the requirement because we're paying for it," Wells said.

"It's a carrot rather than a stick."

Wells was interviewed while her young twins Oshy and Dash were sitting on her lap as Monday marked the start of Multiple Birth Awareness Week.

The Albanese government has also committed to having residents of aged care facilities receive at least 200 minutes of care each day by October.

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