Bill to have RNs in homes voted down, nurse 'appalled'
TWEED MP Geoff Provest abstained from the vote of a bill that would have made it compulsory to have a registered nurse on staff at all times in aged care homes.
The bill generated heated debate after it was introduced into State Parliament last week before it was voted down 45 to 35.
Mr Provest had previously pledged support for the proposal but said he now had concerns the move could have a negative affect on smaller services in rural or remote areas.
"Overall I haven't changed my opinion but my only concern, and this has also been raised by a number of my colleagues, is when you have a smaller nursing home of 20 or 30 residents, that having the cost impost of a full-time RN could put them out of business,” he said, adding he would want a solution to this issue drafted into any similar bill before he would give it support.
His explanation failed to protect him from barbs directed his way by those who believed they had his backing, who said the MP was simply toeing the party line.
"We are absolutely appalled,” said Tweed registered nurse Zoe Guinea. "I can't believe he did that, so much for his word and caring about our aged population in the Tweed, which is one of the biggest in the state.”
Ms Guinea said the difference in having senior nurses in aged care facilities would be about $12 per hour.
Philip Donato, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Orange MP who introduced the bill, accused the NSW Premier of ducking for cover, after she was also absent when the bill was voted down.
He said it was mandatory to have registered nurses on staff in all nursing homes until 2014.