Age care sector in crisis

Aged care facilities on the Central Coast and across NSW are being crippled by the latest COVID-19 outbreak, according to a new survey by the Health Services Union (HSU).

RFBI Lake Haven (Masonic Retirement Village) staff with Labor Leader Anthony Albanese and Member for Dobell Emma McBride.

21 January 2022


THERE have been 168 outbreaks in aged care homes across the state and with hundreds of workers in isolation, the sector is now in crisis.


After surveying 1,000 aged care workers in NSW, the HSU found:


  • 82 per cent believe their facility was unprepared for the current Omicron ‘let it rip’ approach


  • 90 per cent are experiencing understaffing


  • 84 per cent are experiencing excessive workloads


Staff have reported working 12 or 16-hour shifts, working seven days consecutively, a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a shortage of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).


Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride said this could have been avoided if the Government had acted sooner.


“We are now in the third year of this pandemic and the Government is still sitting on its hands,” she said.


“Aged care workers are stretched to their limits with hundreds of staff being forced to isolate, while vulnerable residents are at risk of being exposed to the virus.


“This could have been avoided, but now frontline workers and some of the most vulnerable people in our community are paying the price for this Government’s inaction.”


An aged care worker from Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution at Lake Haven says the situation is dire.


“Aged care workers are exhausted and are at breaking point. I have seen people crying whilst at work, through sheer frustration, helplessness, anger and despair,” she said.


“All of us are anxious about going to work, unsure what we will be confronted with – staff shortages, positive rapid tests, and never enough time to do all that is required.”


Ms. McBride says the Government has failed aged care workers and older Australians during this pandemic.


“They have failed to roll out booster shots in aged care homes in a timely manner and they have failed to shore up supply of Rapid Antigen Tests for these facilities.


“The Government keeps saying vaccination is key to fighting this virus, but they’ve left older Australians vulnerable to infection by bungling the booster rollout and letting Omicron rip through our community.”


The aged care sector needs more support now, this is urgent.

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