Napthine’s aged care privatisation plans for Upper Ferntree Gully

The Napthine Government’s move to privatise aged care facilities could mean the selling off Edward Street Nursing Home in Upper Ferntree Gully, Shadow Minister for Seniors and Ageing Jenny Mikakos said today.

The Napthine Government’s State Budget Update released late last year outlined a reduction of $75 million from public sector aged care.

Ms Mikakos toured the facility with Member for Monbulk James Merlino and said the move towards privatisation would limit choice for Victorian families.

“The residents at Edward Street Nursing Home and their families have been left in the dark by Mr Napthine, who hasn’t been upfront with them about whether their bed will be sold off,” Ms Mikakos said.

“Mr Napthine’s plans to privatise aged care will limit choice for those living in outer suburban like Upper Ferntree Gully, which could lead to people paying more or having to move to another area.

“Mr Napthine should have the courage to come to Upper Ferntree Gully and explain his decision to sell off aged care beds and what that will mean for seniors in this local area.

“Does the planned selloff include Edward Street Nursing Home, and will he guarantee that people can find an affordable place in a private aged care facility in Upper Ferntree Gully now and into the future?

“What is driving the decision to sell off aged care facilities is the desire to reduce staff costs.

“The public sector facilities have nurse/patient ratios to ensure quality care – ratios which do not exist in the private sector. In fact, the private sector often have non-qualified workers in the place of nurses.”

Mr Merlino said the Government was hiding from discussing the issue at the same time pushing ahead with the selloff.

“The tender documents to begin the statewide selloff are on the Government’s website and already several facilities across Victoria have been closed or sold,” he said

“The privatisation has already begun with Rosebud Residential Aged Care Services quietly sold off late last year, and facilities have closed in Ballarat, Koroit, Melbourne, Williamstown, Castlemaine and Kyneton.

“Under the Coalition, the Public Residential Aged Care Sector has shrunk by 284 beds – despite Victoria’s ageing population.

“I am very concerned that Edward Street Nursing Home will be next. That is why we are launching a petition to persuade the Napthine Government not to sell off Edward Street Nursing Home.

“We simply can’t allow Mr Napthine to sell off the care of our seniors to the highest bidder.”