Toowoomba nursing home flags potential staff cuts
BLUE Care has claimed that a potential reduction of staff and rostered hours at its Toowoomba aged care facility are aimed at "maintaining consistency and quality of care".
The aged care provider announced on Tuesday it was likely cutting the jobs of five registered nurses and four assistants in nursing, according to Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union secretary Beth Mohle.
Ms Mohle said the cuts would put elderly lives at risk at the 114-bed facility.
She said Blue Care attempted to make similar cuts last year.
However, the QNMU raised the issue in conjunction with The Chronicle and Blue Care were forced to maintain staff numbers due to public outcry, Ms Mohle said.
The organisation also cut the jobs of nine enrolled nurses in October 2017.
"It appears Blue Care have waited for public pressure to die down and have again attempted to cut nurse and other staff numbers at their Toowoomba Aged Care Facility,'' Ms Mohle said.
A staff meeting regarding the potential cuts is due to take place today.
Staff could have their hours cut, be sent to another facility or be made redundant as a result of the proposed changes.
The Chronicle understands the matter is in the process of being referred to the Aged Care Royal Commission.
A Blue Care letter sent to the QNMU stated the cuts were "aimed at maintaining consistency and quality of care by way of more effective nurse rostering …"
"Blue Care's suggestion cutting registered nurses and assistants in nursing will somehow improve the provision of care is both dangerous and insulting to residents, families and staff," Ms Mohle said.
"We urge those in Toowoomba with a loved one in Blue Care to contact the local manager to discuss the proposed cuts and associated impacts."
A Blue Care spokesman said the organisation's number one priority was the wellbeing of residents and employees.
"Which is why we regularly review and adjust our rosters and staffing mix in-line with the fluctuating occupancy and acuity levels of our aged care homes," he said.
He said as the consultation process for the changes had only just begun, he was unable to comment further.
Ms Mohle said staff numbers were already dangerously low at the majority of private aged care facilities throughout Queensland and Australia.
At the moment, under Australian Federal law, there is no requirement even one registered nurse must be on site at an aged care facility at any time. The Federal Government has the power to make change but has repeatedly refused to do so.
In the lead up to the federal election, only 36 Queensland federal politicians and candidates supported the QNMU's campaign for the introduction of federal nurse to resident ratios in Australian aged care facilities.
The LNP's Federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh wasn't one of them.
Ms Mohle said the QNMU would continue to highlight and campaign against proposed cuts on behalf of aged care staff, residents, families and all future users of private aged care facilities.