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Earle Haven scandal results in new Bill

Following the dramatic and abrupt closure of the Earle Haven Retirement Village in Queensland mid-July, the State Government has introduced a new Bill into Parliament this week to prevent similar events from happening in the future.

​The Health Transparency Bill requires all Queensland Health’s aged care facilities to staff a minimum nurse skill mix of 50 percent. [Source: Shutterstock]
​The Health Transparency Bill requires all Queensland Health’s aged care facilities to staff a minimum nurse skill mix of 50 percent. [Source: Shutterstock]

The Health Transparency Bill requires all Queensland Health’s aged care facilities to staff a minimum nurse skill mix of 50 percent and 30 percent of the total care staff need to be Registered Nurses.

Additionally, under this new Bill, these residential aged care facilities would have to adhere to a new minimum average of providing 3.65 hours of nursing and personal care to residents daily.

The Bill also allows for the collection and publication of information from private and public health and residential aged care facilities.

This published information will be available for consumers to view and compare providers on a new interactive website.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles, believes this Health Transparency Bill would provide a better safeguard to elderly residents and their families when deciding on an aged care service or provider.

“This is about making sure our parents, and grandparents, and loved ones are treated with respect, dignity, and appropriate levels of care,” says Mr Miles.

“Even though the Federal Government is responsible for the sector’s regulation, this is one way we can make them more accountable.

“When it is enacted, this Bill will help open up private and public facilities to similar levels of scrutiny, which will help improve the care provided to older Queenslanders.

“Queensland families want to know if their loved one gives their life savings to a company to care for them in their old age, what exactly are they paying for? Enough staff with the right skill mix to care for them? Or another Lamborgini for the CEO?”

Public residential aged care facilities have to report their average daily resident care hours every quarter.

Private residential aged care facilities have the opportunity to not report this particular information, however, the decision to not participate will be highlighted on the website beside their business name.

The new Queensland Government’s Bill is in direct response to the Earle Haven closure in July, which left 69 residents inside an aged care facility with minimal staff, following a mass nurse walkout.

The pay dispute between the operator of the facility, HelpStreet Group, and owner of the facility, People Care, escalated to a point that resulted in nurses being told by the management operator to leave.

Earle Haven’s problems shocked the State and has raised many questions about the current procedures in place.

Thelast Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hearings investigated the current systems of the aged care monitoring Government Department and examined the operator and owner of Earle Haven over how this dispute reached such a crisis point with no appropriate resolution or Government intervention.

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