The Napthine Government’s move to privatise aged care facilities could mean the selling off Merv Irvine or Ian Brand nursing homes in Bundoora, 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 Merv Irvine Nursing Home with Member for Bundoora Colin Brooks and said the move towards privatisation would limit choice for Victorian families.

“The residents at Merv Irvine 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 Bundoora, which could lead to people paying more or having to move to another area.

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

“Does the planned selloff include Merv Irvine or Ian Brand, both of which are operated by Northern Health? Will the Premier guarantee that people can find an affordable place in a private aged care facility in Bundoora 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 Brooks 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 Merv Irvine Nursing Home or Ian Brand Nursing Home will be next. That is why we are launching a petition to persuade the Napthine Government not to sell off any aged care facilities in Bundoora.

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

Published on September 6, 2013