Aged Care Workforce Inquiry Looks at Training and Staffing
31 October 2016 at 8:53 am
Training inconsistencies, accreditation needs and future staffing levels in the aged care workforce have been highlighted in public hearings being held by a parliamentary inquiry on the future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce.
The inquiry, which has received almost 300 submissions from not-for-profit organisations and for-profit service providers, has resumed after it was put on hold before the federal election.
The chair of the Community Affairs References Committee is WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who told Pro Bono Australia News the public hearings were delivering good information about how to improve the aged care workforce now and into the future.
“The issues that have come up are around inconsistent and inadequate training, remuneration and wages, lack of a career path and concerns about the growth of workforce into the future, which keeps coming up again and again,” Siewert said.
She said evidence had been given that cuts to aged care funding added to the sector’s inability to provide adequate remuneration.
“The aged care workforce is going to have to increase at the same time as the disability workforce… and people talk about the disability workforce increasing by four times and probably about the same for aged care,” she said.
“A number of witnesses have supported the idea of a some sort of national approach to accreditation and strong support for better standards for training as well as issues of regional delivery. It’s quite obvious in Alice Springs that we need to look at the the delivery of services in remote Australian and the appropriate approach to consumer directed care.
“We need to get the systems right so that people can be confident that when they are training people that people have the right support and career development.
“As well we have heard that dodgy workers can move between states and there is still no proper tracking. We have been hearing in the territory that people can move between one provider to another particularly remotely.”
The National Aged Care Alliance submission to the inquiry has called for an integrated approach to workforce planning and remuneration across health, aged care, disability and community service sectors.
The submission said this would require the federal government to work with stakeholders to co-design a definitive workforce development strategy to ensure a sufficient future workforce to meet the service needs of health, aged care, disability and community service sectors (including in regional and remote areas).
“This strategy should work towards greater coordination across the social services sectors and should focus on recruitment, retention, education, development and remuneration to ensure that the workforce needs of each of the sectors are met,” the submission said.
“A whole of government involvement in the development of this strategic approach would ensure that the common elements of workforce across multiple sectors are considered together rather than in parallel or duplication.”