NSW Govt ignores vital training for nurses, health workers

The NSW Government has ignored a huge and necessary potential training ground for nursing and allied health students by ruling out clinical training in aged care, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) said today.

"There are not enough clinical training places for existing nursing and allied health students, yet the NSW Government has told CHA that it will not allow these students to train in our or other aged care facilities," CHA CEO Martin Laverty said.

"With an ageing population and a shortage of clinical training places, this is madness."

"Every other State and Territory in Australia recognises the importance of nurturing a strong aged care workforce and is encouraging students to train in aged care.

"NSW is potentially depriving students of that opportunity and depriving current and future residents of aged care facilities the security of a strong and experienced aged care workforce."

One year after COAG agreed to establish Health Workforce Australia (HWA) to oversee health workforce reform, and six months after the Commonwealth committed $1.4 billion to the process, most other jurisdictions are well into the planning process for setting up new clinical training places and supervision programs.

But -- with the States unable to reach agreement -- the CEO and Board of HWA have yet to be appointed, there are scant plans and little action to get the reform process rolling.

"With one in 10 Australians in a hospital or aged care service today being cared for in a Catholic facility, we are offering all governments our network of hospitals and aged care facilities to train more nurses, doctors and allied health staff," Mr Laverty said.

"More than ever, it is vital that pre-registration students across all health professions -- medicine, nursing and allied health -- are exposed to robust hands-on training in a variety of health and aged care settings.

"The NSW Government should rethink its decision, and allow students to undertake their clinical placements in aged care services, so that all Australians are able to continue enjoying access to quality health and aged care.

"The will and the funding exist -- let's get on with delivering to NSW and Australia the health and aged care workforce it needs and deserves."

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