aged care

The tragedy for the coronavirus victims in aged care could have been avoided, or greatly reduced, if authorities had implemented early calls for radical reforms to the very sick health system, writes George Zangalis.

Moreland councillor Sue Bolton has added her voice to calls for safe work conditions for aged care workers as the pandemic hits the most vulnerable. Chloe DS and Darren Saffin report.

Aged care home Newmarch House has become the new epicentre of COVID-19 in New South Wales. Jim McIlroy reports how privatisation and deregulation of aged care has contributed to the neglect.

In October last year, the federal government finally established a royal commission into aged care, after a Senate inquiry received numerous complaints among its 5000 submissions. The deep-seated problems included poor standards of care, physical assaults and extremely challenging working conditions.

The disastrous results of privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation in the aged care sector have been further exposed in the commission’s report. The aged care system, along with health care in general, should instead be placed under public ownership and control, and made accessible to the whole community.

The disaster at the Earle Haven Retirement Village is a particularly shocking example of how already vulnerable people are treated in a system geared to making money, writes Michael McDonald.

Prominent Aboriginal elder Wayne Wharton is making a tilt for the senate in Queensland this election, campaigning on issues such as justice for Aboriginal people, justice reinvestment and an improved aged care system.

Wharton told Green Left Weekly: “The systems that we’ve had for the last 230 years is broken, they’re useless.”

These include the legal system which, he says, is based on a “feudal system of punishment” instead of rehabilitation, and the two-party system, in which the big parties have become dominated by “top-end-of-town corruption”.

The aged care sector should be publicly run, adequately funded and with a high standard of living, says the Victorian Socialists. The current problem is not market failure. The problem is the market itself.

About 500 members of the Health Services Union (HSU), United Voice, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) and other unions gathered in Hyde Park on April 19 to "Rally for Respect: Time to Care for Aged Care."

Speakers represented the various health sector unions, as well as UnionsNSW, and Labor federal and state politicians.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government has cut billions of dollars from the aged care sector. This has had an enormous impact on the lives of older Australians in care, their families and those who care for them.

NSW Coalition MPs voted down a bill, 35 to 45, on May 11, that mandated registered nurses in residential aged care facilities. Labor, the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, as well as Independents Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper supported the bill.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association’s Brett Holmes said the government’s decision was “shameful” because not having skilled nurses in nursing homes would mean that the quality of care provided to some of the state’s most vulnerable would deteriorate.

Pages

Subscribe to aged care