The Green Party is calling for urgent government action to ensure safe staffing levels in aged residential care facilities, as a new report today shows a strained workforce is under increasing pressure.
The report, from the Aged Care Association, shows some providers are unable to staff admissions of residents, and even have to close beds or facilities due to lack of staff.
“The Green Party has long called for better pay and conditions for the aged care staff who support older New Zealanders to live well in their most vulnerable years,” says Jan Logie, Green Party spokesperson for workplace relations and safety.
“With an aging population and an already stretched aged care sector, we must do better now by ensuring safe staffing levels for our kaumatua. We support the call from E Tū Union for the government to legislate for a minimum number of staff per resident. This minimum number of staff needs to reflect the care requirements of the patients in aged residential care, and needs to be backed up with better resourcing.
“The aged care sector needs more funding to boost the pay of workers and ensure equitable access to care for everyone when they need it later in life, not just those who live in the right postcode.”
Ricardo Menéndez March, Green spokesperson for immigration adds: “All our aged care workers should have equitable pathways to residency in line with other professions in the Government’s immigration reset.
“We will continue to see workforce shortages and poor access to care if we do not address the sexist imbalance of the Government’s immigration priorities. They are focused on bringing in high-paying, male-dominated professions while at the same time side-lining the workers who continue to play a critical role in caring for our health and communities.
“The Green Party is committed to ensuring all migrant care workers have genuine pathways to residency and fair, liveable wages once they get here.
“Aged care workers, care and support workers, nurses and all allied health staff are essential to the long-term wellbeing of our families, our communities and our country as a whole – and they deserve better.”