The NSW Health Services Union has called for additional funding for aged care after Harden’s Southern Cross Care facility cut care hours.
HSU aged care manager Rob Sheehy wants to see the federal government unlock the funding freeze to aged care services, worth around $2 billion, and implement a sustainable funding model.
Mr Sheehy said 58 per cent of aged care service providers in regional Australia were losing money.
“It’s common that companies are looking to cut back,” he said.
Mr Sheehy said 417 hours of care per fortnight, from laundry to lifestyle, had been cut in Harden.
Southern Cross Care CEO Paul McMahon confirmed that 417 hours per fortnight had been cut at Hardens’ St Lawrence Apartments.
“The reductions have included shortening morning and evening shifts slightly while maintaining staffing levels throughout peak times,” Mr McMahon said.
Mr McMahon re-iterated that resident’s care was their number one priority and that they were still delivering more care hours than the benchmark.
“A staggered reduction in the duration of hours for some activities programs, laundry services, and kitchen services were implemented across each fortnightly roster.
“We have been focused on creating minimal disruption and we sought to retain jobs where possible.”
Mr Sheehy said any reduction to hours or staff numbers in aged care would have a “significant impact”.
“What we find is workloads are very high already and staff numbers are low for the work all across aged care,” Mr Sheehy said.
He said the current funding model didn’t allow organisations to provide the best level of care.
“There needs to be a funding model that accurately reflects the true cost of high quality care that our older Australians deserve,” he said.
“There’s no minimum staffing levels for staff across aged care, shifts are being reduced all across the spectrum.”
The cut to staff hours are also likely to impact specialist services including palliative and dementia care.
“There’s a funding crisis when 58 per cent of aged care services are losing money and it can only go on so long,” Mr Sheehy said.
“The government needs to step in and resolve the crisis. It has to put regional aged care back on an economically sound footing.”