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Register for aged care workers on the horizon

The Federal Government has released a public consultation paper proposing a better regulated workforce for the aged care industry.

​If a registration scheme is established by the Government, it will ensure all staff working in aged care are suitable and qualified to be providing care to older Australians. [Source: iStock]
​If a registration scheme is established by the Government, it will ensure all staff working in aged care are suitable and qualified to be providing care to older Australians. [Source: iStock]

If a registration scheme is established by the Government, it will ensure all staff working in aged care are suitable and qualified to be providing care and services to older vulnerable Australians.

A registration scheme has been supported by peak bodies, like the Aged Care Guild and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA).

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, says the registration scheme is a step closer to being established in the sector.

"What we’re looking for is a registration scheme that screens all aged care workers, without putting a red tape burden on them or service providers," explains Minister Colbeck.

"We also want to make sure that workers are still able to move between sectors, employers, regions and States as circumstances change."

Certain medical professionals working in aged care, such as nurses, physiotherapists and podiatrists, are required to maintain registration to continue practising under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health practitioners. However, this doesn't apply to other aged care workers.

"There is no centralised screening or checks in place for other direct care workers, such as personal care workers, to provide assurance to the community around public safety for senior Australians receiving care," says Minister Colbeck.

"But their skills and character are equally important and can be a huge influence on the safety and quality of life of people receiving care, in both residential and in home care."

In the consultation paper, there are details around the objectives of an aged care worker screening or regulation scheme, key issues that the scheme could address, and existing regulatory models in related sectors.

Until 29 June, the public can provide feedback about the proposed features of a regulatory scheme.

After the public consultation finished, the Government will receive a detailed options paper for consideration.

The aim is for the scheme to be introduced and implemented over a number of stages, and it is believed the registration scheme will be fully in place by 2022. 

Alongside the scheme, the Federal Government has requested a proposal for the development of a model for a new aged care centre for growth and translational research.

Following the acceptance of a model, tenders will be sought to establish and operate the research centre from 2021.

Minister Colbeck says, "The Government is working with the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council to reform the aged care workforce and ensure quality care for all senior Australians.

“This is important groundwork to ensure the care and wellbeing of those people in our lives who we care about most and will reinforce the framework for a strengthened sector for the future."

To view the consultation paper or provide feedback, visit the Department of Health’s Consultation Hub, or the proposal for the development of a new aged care centre for growth and translational research can be viewed on AusTender

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