Palaszczuk and Miles Budget Presser
Palaszczuk and Miles Budget Presser

New laws to keep elderly safe

MINIMUM nursing contact hours will be mandated for elderly Queenslanders living in state-owned aged care homes under laws to ensure better standards of care.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the Palaszczuk Government will move to mandate a minimum average of 3.65 nursing hours per patient per day under the legislation signed off by Cabinet this week.

Nursing homes will also be forced to publicly report on their staff ratios, under the laws.

It follows an election commitment from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to extend its nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals to the aged care sector.

Ms Palaszczuk will announce the commitment on Friday during a speech to the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union's annual conference in Queensland.

The laws will impact 16 Government-owned facilities across the state.

Health Minister Steven Miles and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: AAP/Richard Waugh
Health Minister Steven Miles and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: AAP/Richard Waugh

It follows the shock sudden closure of a Gold Coast nursing home last week that forced the emergency evacuation of 70 residents, many frail and suffering from dementia.

"Revelations at the Royal Commission into Aged Care and recent events at the Earle Haven retirement village on the Gold Coast have demonstrated how important it is for residents and their families to have comfort and confidence in the care they receive," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"The evidence is clear - mandating how many patients staff in our hospitals should look after at one time leads to better care for patients and a more effective health system," the Premier said.

"Residents in aged care facilities should be able to benefit from the same principle.

"Not only that, residents and their families should be able to make informed choices about the care they receive.

"That's why we will make sure public aged care facilities start quarterly reporting of staffing information by the end of this year."

Health Minister Steven Miles said the aged care ratio information for the state's nursing homes would be made eventually be available on a new Queensland Hospital Insights website once the interactive site is up and running.

The laws are expected to be introduced as early as next month and passed by the end of the year.