RN 24/7 for one more year

Article published 26 September 2019

RN 24/7 for one more year

VICTORIA is the only state to have mandatory nursing staff ratios (in Victorian Government nursing homes), but NSW is the only state that requires nursing homes to have a Registered Nurse on duty at all times.

The NSW requirement originally applied to ‘high care’ nursing homes only, not to ‘low care’ nursing homes. When that distinction was abolished in 2014, the NSW Public Health Regulation 2012 was changed. Any nursing home that was a ‘high care’ nursing home before 2014 would still be required to have a Registered Nurse on duty at all times.

But that was to end with the expiry of the Public Health Regulation 2012 in 2017.

However, the Public Health Regulation has been held over for twelve months a few times. It has again been held over for twelve months this year, until 1 September 2020.

It may just be coincidence, but up until the recent extension, the Aged Care Royal Commission would have made its final report on 30 April 2020 (now 12 November 2020). The Royal Commission is likely to make recommendations about nursing home staffing. Might it be that the NSW Government was attempting to hold off for that purpose?

Difficult to say, but what can be assumed is that the NSW requirement for a Registered Nurse to be on duty in nursing homes at all times is not being policed. It’s a requirement in name only.

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