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Wesley Vickery Sylvania is a residential aged care facility in the Sutherland Shire. Picture: Supplied.

Wesley Mission to shut three homes due to lack of staff

Wesley Mission, a Sydney-based aged care provider, will close its last three facilities in Sylvania, Carlingford, and Narrabeen by the end of May due to staffing difficulties.

The decision, announced today, is estimated to affect nearly 200 residents and over 2,000 staff.

Wesley Mission told ABC News they faced significant problems meeting new national staffing requirements imposed by the federal government.

The not-for-profit closed its Dundas-based Tebbutt residential aged care facility in 2022 citing the negative impacts of Covid-10 on staffing levels.

Wesley chief Stu Cameron said the decision to close the remaining three homes was due to the 'challenging environment and flow-on impact' of the incoming reforms.

All aged care homes in Australia are to have a round-the-clock nurse on duty by July 1st this year.

Aged care minister Anika Wells agreed last month the target was unattainable and estimated it would lead to one in 20 homes failing to meet the requirement by the July deadline.

Wells said the government was 'working closely' with aged care providers to ensure they got the support and resources needed.

On top of the 24/7 nursing mandate, aged care providers must also provide at least 200 minutes of care per resident per day by October 1st 2023.

Australia's aged care sector is predicted to face a shortage of 11,800 registered nurses within the next financial year.

The workforce would also need close to 10,000 personal care workers to meet a legislated care minute increase to 215 set to come into force by October 2024.

Despite the government's initiative to raise the minimum pay standard by 15 per cent from July to attract more staff, the sector is still short of thousands of workers.

Wesley Mission appointed MyCarePath, a specialist in aged care placements, to help residents find new accommodations and to support affected staff in finding new roles.

The provider said the facilities are expected to close once suitable accommodation is found for everyone.

Wesley Mission's closure follows VincentCare's decision to withdraw from Home Care Packages in Victoria, citing difficulties meeting new government requirements.

Australia's leading organisation for aged care providers said Wesley Mission's choice to close its three aged care homes was 'understandable in the current reform climate.'

"The financial viability of many providers is placing a majority under serious pressure," the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) said in a statement.

"We understand and support the need for reform, but we need to work with government to ensure the pace of change is manageable for providers and does not exacerbate an already challenging situation."

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One comment

  1. I am at a loss as to why these three nursing homes will be closing. If the rates of staffing to patients are 10 to 1 surely Wesley can cut some of these staff to afford a full-time nursing presence in the 3 homes affected? Does this really mean that amongst 2000 staff there are not 12-15 nurses who can take the necessary shifts to cover 3 homes for 24/7? The government is only asking for 1 RN position per nursing home after all – which I think sounds absolutely minimal.
    Is the closure rather about the losses being felt thought the industry as beds are not filled which means nursing homes are running at a loss and therefore cannot keep their doors open – so when these facilities that cannot meet the minimal criteria of 1 RN 24/7 close down, those clients will go elsewhere, and the beds of a different facility will be full and not running at a loss? It sounds like we have too many facilities and not enough seniors to fill them.

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