Thursday, 10 December 2020
Bendigo Electorate: Aged Care
I rise today to outline to the chamber a report that we have prepared in my electorate that is based on the experiences of Bendigo and Bendigo residents with the aged-care sector. It is no secret to any of us that the aged-care sector is in crisis. It was in crisis before the pandemic, the pandemic has exacerbated the crisis and today we're still in the same situation. Whilst we acknowledge that there is currently a royal commission into the quality and care that residents receive within aged care, we felt the need to put the Bendigo experiences of the aged-care sector on the record. I'll be seeking at the end of my contribution to table the report that we've prepared, because I feel that the voices of the people that we have heard in Bendigo do deserve to be on the Hansard record.
This report into the experience of many in my region is damning. We wrote to everybody over the age of 55 and asked them for their experiences. We asked them to complete a short survey, and this report contains the findings. We found that 90 per cent of people we surveyed agreed that there needed to be minimal staffing levels set in aged care and that these ratios needed to be safe.
It came as a shock to many in my electorate that we don't already have minimum staffing levels, that it's left up to the individual organisation or facility to set their levels. That created a difference of experiences. Ninety-seven per cent of people surveyed agreed there should be better training and support for staff in aged care. Seventy per cent said they agreed that people working in aged-care facilities did not have access to appropriate PPE during the pandemic and did worry about the future. These are just some of the statistics contained in the report, which says that people in my electorate of Bendigo agree that we need to have safe minimum staffing levels in our aged-care facilities and we need to support the staff working in the facilities.
When we spoke to people working in the sector, their stories backed up what others said: that they felt under pressure, that there weren't enough of them, that they're exhausted, particularly at the end of the pandemic and where we are at the moment in Victoria, that new staff didn't have the skills of old staff, because there was not the same focus on training.
This report is important. It is compelling. I seek leave to table the report so others can learn from our experiences.
Leave not granted.