Busting the myths about local aged care jobs

Anglican Care’s Colin Osborne addresses the concerns of local residents.
Anglican Care’s Colin Osborne addresses the concerns of local residents.

ANGLICAN Care’s chief executive Colin Osborne said he wanted to “bust the myth” surrounding community concerns about jobs linked to the organisation’s proposed aged care facility in Gloucester.

The community meeting hosted by Mr Osborne on Monday (April 18), was aimed to update residents about the progress of the project and ascertain the viability of including a retirement village in the scope of works.

The use of local trades in building the new aged care facility has caused some concern amongst businesses in town.

Mr Osborne committed to using local businesses as much as possible for the construction of the new facility so long as they could show capacity for the build.

Gloucester Business Chamber’s Yvonne Reynolds suggested that local trades be pooled together as part of the workforce to construct the 80 bed facility. Mr Osborne agreed with the idea however questioned who would take responsibility for warranty issues.

He promised to hold a meeting in the next three months with local businesses about skills and supplies for the project.

“My expectation is there are plenty of suppliers to support the need,” Mr Osborne stated.

It was also noted that all the meals would be prepared at the organisation’s new food production facility in Cardiff.

“Even though cooked fresh is better, it is not economically viable,” he said.

He then busted the myth about the ratio of residents to staff, a ratio which Mr Osborne said “does not exist”.

He also said that the cost of a bed in the nursing home will vary depending on the market and the additional facilities in the room, much like choosing a hotel room.

The facility however must provide a percentage of its residency for people who do not meet the financial means test for entry. He declined to be drawn on percentage figures, saying only that “I’m not going to expect anyone to move out of the area because of how much money they have.”

Among the 52 attendees was Karon Devenish, general manager for Hunter New England Health’s Lower Mid North Coast Cluster, who addressed the question about the future of the existing aged care buildings currently linked to Gloucester Hospital once they are decommissioned when Anglican Care’s facility is up and running. There are currently no plans but that community input would be sought closer to the time.

The development application to council for the aged care facility will include plans for a retirement village with 18 to 24 dwellings along with the nursing home. Information collated from a survey provided to the attendees will assist in determining communal facilities, the size and purchase price of the units.

Mr Osborne told the group that a community transport bus would be available for residents along with a community centre including barbeques and an entertainment area. The facility will have a strict ‘no pet’ policy.

Asked about figures quoted by Dr Gillespie which included 100 construction jobs and 80 jobs after construction, Mr Osborne told the Gloucester Advocate that numbers are based on the cost of the build so an exact figures was difficult to determine at this early stage.

Anglican Care were recently awarded an extra 30 licences on top of the existing 60 due to be transferred from Gloucester Hospital. Mr Osborne said that not all licences include federal funding.

Construction is due to commence in the middle of 2017 with completion pencilled in for mid to late 2018.