A petition to separate the amount of care provided to aged care residents by enrolled nurses, physiotherapists and Allied Health Professionals has gained momentum over the Christmas period.
The online campaign, led by Alwyn Blayse and the AAC Health Group, a Queensland-based group of allied health professionals, has attracted more than 10,000 signatures over the last week.
The petition, which is targeting baby boomers and Gen X consumers through the message ‘Don’t abandon your mum and dad’, follows reports in December of reduced hours and job cuts amongst physio and OT staff in aged care, as providers are not required to deliver minimum average minutes of allied health care to residents.
In a post on LinkedIn, Blayse said that while there are now mandatory minutes of care provided by nurses and personal care workers, the government has not mandated any minimum average minutes for allied health care.
“Instead, spending on allied health is left to the discretion of providers – many of whom are financially pressured and unable to deliver an adequate level of allied health care,” Blayse said.
“Up to 60% of allied health alone had hours cut or lost jobs (and another 37% in six weeks since 1st October 2022) and now we’ve been seeing Enrolled Nurses at Southern Cross Tasmania and other homes lose jobs too, replaced with cheaper less qualified staff.”
In the petition, consumers are reminded that the Royal Commission in Aged Care recommended older people receive more clinical care – not less – than the recommended 110 minutes a resident per a week.
It goes on to say, “the authors of the funding model that is now in place, the AN-ACC, also recommended that this allied health be embedded in the model as well. So how did it end up that we have less than 10 minutes a week, not 110?”
Blayse and AAC are calling for three key changes which they describe will ‘bring back nurses, physios and allied health’:
- Mandate providers to pay for the required minimum minutes of Enrolled Nurses, Physios and Allied Health Professionals.
- Have Enrolled Nurses, Physios and Allied Health Professionals separately count towards required care minutes.
- Clarify additional services fee for service items for allied health over and above what is clinically required.
Last month AHPA CEO Browyn Morris-Donovan said that 22 minutes would be an appropriate and fair measure for aged care allied health services based on their understanding of the evidence that went to the royal commission.
View the petition at www.aachealthgroup.com.au/advocacy/