Opposition leader Tony Abbott has announced that a coalition government will spend $335 million to make available 3,000 more nursing home beds, but nurses and doctors warned this will cause a healthcare crisis.
Under Abbott's proposal announced Sunday, the 3,000 beds will be freed during his first term, if he is elected. The funding will provide $30,000 incentive to nursing home operators for each bed allocated.
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) said the plan will cause an aged-care crisis it no corresponding nursing staff for each bed made available is considered.
ANF spokeswoman Yvonne Chaperon warned that nurses are already leaving aged care because of low salary and long working hours. She said Abbott's plan may worsen the situation.
This is a simplistic attempt to throw money at the aged care sector without considering all of the health and care needs of residents. That includes the need for skills mix and staffing levels for nurses, ABC.net quoted Chaperon as saying.
Meanwhile, the Australian Medical Association expressed concern that the plan does not include new funding for medical care for old Australians.
AMA president Dr. Andrew Pesce said in a statement that the Coalition even wanted to eliminate the $98.4 million incentive to GPs who provide services in nursing homes as promised by Labor in the May budget.