ANMF (SA Branch) calls for licensing scheme for aged-care staff

The nurses’ union wants a licensing scheme introduced to prevent aged-care workers who are sacked for misconduct from getting jobs at other nursing homes. Residential aged-care staff are required to undergo police checks every three years and nobody who has served time in jail for violent offences such as assault is permitted to work in the sector.

But industry leaders are concerned about the lack of a national register which records serious misconduct by aged care workers.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery SA secretary Elizabeth Dabars said care workers should have to abide by a code of ethics and register with the Australian Health Practitioner Agency.

Boards overseen by the agency have the power to discipline or deregister doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

‘‘It goes to that issue of trust and making sure there are safeguards to ensure that people are fit and proper for the type of work that they’re undertaking,” Ms Dabars said.

“Police certificates are in some respects inadequate because they require a person to have been convicted for a criminal offence in order for anything to show on them.”

Aged Care Industry Association SA chief executive Paul Carberry said operators had been horrified by the assault of nursing home resident Clarence Hausler and a registration system for aged care staff should be considered.

“It would go some way towards at least allowing people who have committed misdemeanours in the past to be identified and not hired by the next aged care facility they apply to,’’ Mr Carberry said.

The chief executive of All Care Aged Care at Morphett Vale, Neil Pahuja, yesterday backed the use of CCTV cameras to protect nursing home residents.

“I don’t think it’s probably a great thing to be videoing a human being 24 hours a day for the rest of their life, however for limited periods and without staff knowing when there are concerns that service should be available,’’ Mr Pahuja told ABC radio.

Mr Pahuja also raised concerns that industrial relations laws could make it difficult for homes to sack staff caught abusing residents.

Council on the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said the Federal Government should push ahead with reforms that would give aged care clients greater choice over which services they used.

Mr Yates said the current system saw nursing homes allocated licences and some older people forced to move into whichever home they could find with a vacancy.

“We want the good ones to be able to expand their offerings so more consumers can go to them and the bad ones to disappear,’’ Mr Yates said.

“What we want is much more consumer choice and that will drive quality improvement.”

Full article credit: The Advertiser

Click below to play ABC news radio report with Adj Prof Elizabeth Dabars AM, CEO/Secretary, ANMF (SA Branch)