Gloucester aged care staff have had a win in the battle to save their jobs in the transfer to the new facility with mediation through the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) determining a five-year deal.
In February, the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association (NSWNMA) lodged a dispute against Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) in regard to concerns over the transfer deal which will see Gloucester hospital's aged care units transition to Anglican Care's new facility.
According to HNELHD executive director, Greater Metropolitan Health Services, Karen Kelly, it was mediated through the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that the staff transferring to Anglican Care will have their existing award terms and conditions preserved for up to five years, as per federal legislation.
While this is a win for any staff offered a permanent position at the new nursing home, there are still concerns about the types of jobs and amount of hours that will be offered.
NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes said he's pleased the IRC matter had been resolved providing some clarity to those impacted.
"Understandably, this has been a stressful period for our Gloucester aged care nurses. Particularly given the time it's taken to get both Hunter New England LHD and Anglican Care to provide our members with a bit more certainty about their future," Mr Holmes said.
"That said, there are still several issues yet to be resolved, including the number of aged care nurses who will be offered positions with Anglican Care and what the overall staffing profile will be."
According to Anglican Care chief executive officer, Colin Osborne the draft roster that has already been supplied to HNELHD is pretty close to what will be used going forward.
"It's a draft roster based on a current facility (Mount Hutton, Newcastle) that is a similar size with similar care needs," Mr Osborne said.
Mr Osborne explained that when the new nursing home begins to operate adjustments will be made to the roster based on residents' needs.
"It's very rare to see hours on a roster decrease. It's not impossible but it's rare," he said.
The decision doesn't affect how many people it takes to run the place.Colin Osborne
There will be 45 to 50 people employed on a full-time and part-time basis (permanent positions) with 28 full time equivalent (FTE) hours on the care assist side of things (nurses, etc) and eight FTE in hospitality. Mr Osborne noted that the team set up with Anglican Care is a different model than the one used at Gloucester hospital.
"A contemporary aged care facility lends itself to part time work," he said.
He explained how the hours of residents' needs are generally higher in the morning, when getting ready for the day, and in the evening, when getting ready for bed. As people typically don't want to work split shifts the part time arrangement is better for staff, according Mr Osborne.
Mr Osborne said employment interviews have been taking place and it's expected that positions will be officially offered by the end of August.
When it comes to the IRC outcome, the biggest impact will be felt by HNELHD. It will be responsible for funding the gap between what Anglican Care covers in its employment contract and what the health district staff are entitled to.
"We are committed to supporting the ongoing employment of as many of our Gloucester aged care staff as possible, either with Anglican Care in its new facility, or through alternative roles within our district," Ms Kelly said.
For Anglican Care, which wasn't involved in the IRC, the outcome has had little impact.
"The decision doesn't affect how many people it takes to run the place," Mr Osborne said.
According to Ms Kelly the "staffing levels and arrangements at the new facility will be finalised by Anglican Care in line with quality standards regulated by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission."