Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that work is underway on a nationally-agreed action plan for COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care, as Victoria’s fatality rate in the sector continues to spiral.
In an address following this morning’s 25th National Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said a plan for the handling of aged care cases was much needed, as he thanked workers for their contribution on what is Aged Care Employee Day 2020.
“I want to thank all of them for the amazing job they’re doing,” said Mr Morrison
“Many of us across the country know from personal experience just how amazing people are who look after our elderly in our community.”
The Prime Minister described Australia’s aged care sector workforce as a “true inspiration”.
“And in a time like this, particularly when they’re working under extreme pressures as we’ve seen in Victoria, they’ve shown what a tough job that they do with great care, great love and great compassion.”
“I want to thank them for the tremendous job they do. Whether they’re doing it incredibly hard in Victoria today or in other parts of the country where it is the job they do every day under more routine circumstances – a terribly important job – we acknowledge the great contribution they make to our country and the care of our elderly.”
Australia’s leading aged care advocacy groups joined the PM in thanking aged care workers today, calling them the “unsung heroes” working in the face of “a once-in-a-century emergency”.
“Over 360,000 devoted aged care workers have been, and remain, on the frontline, working profoundly to safeguard our most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) said in a statement.
“While community transmission of the virus has led to tragic consequences in some aged care homes, the vast majority of older people in residential facilities across the nation, and those receiving care in their own homes, have been protected from the pandemic.”
“This has been due to the diligence, professionalism and heartfelt concern of aged care staff, including managers, nurses, personal carers, allied health staff, chefs, cleaners, laundry teams and gardeners.”
Aged & Community Services Australia chief executive, Patricia Sparrow said aged care workers were some of the most passionate and hard-working people in the wider health system.
“They are doing fabulous and heroic work on the frontline of the most challenging period in our lifetimes,” she said.
“Aged care workers care deeply. As a wider community we should be better at celebrating their contribution.”
Acting CEO of the Aged Care Guild, Nicholas Brown, said their commitment was unparalleled.
“This Aged Care Employee Day is an opportunity for us all to stop and acknowledge the vital role aged care workers play in fighting the current pandemic, getting up every day to care for our loved ones,” he said.
“It is a tough job at the best of times. Now more than ever, as a community, we need to galvanise around these frontline staff and show our appreciation for the essential work they do. To all the aged care staff, we sincerely thank you.”