A BATTLE is brewing at one of Leeton’s aged care centres.
Due to the federal government’s aged care funding freeze, Southern Cross Care – the organisation who runs Assumption Villa – has had to cut 128 staff working hours from the roster.
The bulk of the hours were removed from kitchen services where there was a duplication of roles.
Overall care hours were reduced by seven hours each fortnight, or 3.5 hours per week.
Hours have also been removed from administrative work, which were transferred to the regional manager.
Southern Cross Care has denied the changes will impact on the quality of care given to residents.
Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes said he had several concerns.
“This will have a downstream effect on the local economy as age care workers will have less to spend in local shops,” he said.
“More importantly, it means our older citizens will not be getting the same level of support and care.
“The federal government’s indexation freeze on the aged care funding instrument has put further pressure on the aged care sector at a time when it is already struggling to cope.”
As a result of the freeze, Southern Cross Care undertook a review of all of its services, including head office operations.
Chief executive officer Paul McMahon said the review identified locations where hours could be safely reduced.
“Resident care and wellbeing have not been impacted,” he said.
“We had capacity to make these changes and resident care continues to be our top priority.
“Our residents continue to enjoy quality care and services.”
Southern Cross Care has called on the government to apply the “appropriate levels of indexation”. “We’d also like to see more support for services located in rural areas that face higher costs together with skills shortages,” Mr McMahon said.