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Blue Care offers solution to crisis

Blue Care Acting Executive Director Bob Gilkes
Queensland’s largest non-profit health and aged care provider Blue Care has defended its decision not to open its new $7.5 million aged care facility at Yeppoon in central Queensland due to staffing shortages.

Blue Care Acting Executive Director Bob Gilkes said overseas staff have been hired to help open the 60-bed Capricorn Gardens, which has struggled to find a full complement of nursing and care staff for the past nine months.

“The staff positions are now filled and the majority are local professionals. We employed international agencies to fill the last four nursing positions and we received confirmation today that they will be arriving in February, which means we’re on track to open in March,” Mr Gilkes said.

Mr Gilkes said staff shortages across the health and community services industry means Blue Care has had to find innovative solutions to attract staff, such as sourcing people from overseas and offering management development, health support and graduate programs.

“Blue Care is actively working with the Australian Government to find solutions around workforce shortages and recognises that how we respond and deal with this issue is critical as we face a growing demand for services with a rapidly ageing population,” Mr Gilkes said.

“But our first obligation is to deliver quality care to older Australians, and Blue Care won’t be pressured into relaxing its high standards of recruitment. We would rather delay opening new facilities than compromise the safety of older people.

“Blue Care has been providing high quality care to older Australians for more than 50 years and this will not change. We value our staff and volunteers and we’ll continue to provide quality caring services to people in need.”

Blue Care is one of Australia’s largest non-profit providers of community health and aged care. Each year, the organisation cares for one in 30 Queenslanders through services including Blue Nursing, residential aged care, allied health, respite and volunteer services.

Photo : Blue Care Acting Executive Director Bob Gilkes