Recent legislative changes by the federal government in relation to the aged care sector will see nursing home patients guaranteed around the clock access to registered nurses. The change, which will come into effect from July 1, 2023, stipulates the requirement of a qualified and registered nurse on-site in every residential home at all times. Furthermore, from October 1, 2023 the requirement to deliver a sector average of 200 care minutes per resident per day, including 40 registered nurse minutes, will become mandatory. This will then increase to 215 minutes per resident per day, including 44 registered nurse minutes, as of October 1, 2024. These measures have been brought about following recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. RELATED: Stop telling us to cope: nurses strike for safer work conditions | photos and video While there appears to be acceptance in principle of the changes throughout the industry, concern remains as to the availability of registered nurses to fill the mandated roles. Bushland Health Group CEO, Errol Curran, says that while Bushland is already in compliance with the forthcoming changes, the availability of staffing registered nurses appears to be an ongoing issue. "We have 24/7 coverage across all our three homes, although it's becoming increasingly difficult to get registered nurses. They just don't exist. There's not enough to go around," Mr Curran said. "I think, generally there's a shortage worldwide, Australia wide, and there's certainly a shortage in aged care. And then add onto that the regional issues. So we've been hit from every angle." As with most industries, the shortage of qualified nurses bears a direct correlation to the impacts of COVID, though in a more direct way than most. Related: Government to blame for aged care homes going broke, says chairman Feedback given to the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) indicates nurses are facing a high level of burnout, with many struggling with the pressure to care for patients, as well as struggling to cope with work-related post-traumatic stress. Growing workloads and mandatory overtime are among other factors causing major burnout. Additionally, a high level of nurses reported they had been either physically assaulted, verbally abused and/or subject to sexual innuendo, abuse or threats. While some of these scenarios may be more directly related to public hospital employment, the situation has contributed to an overall decrease in the number of individuals either entering or continuing within the nursing profession, situation likely to cause a negative impact on the aged care industry in particular. This is a sentiment echoed by peak industry body, Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), CEO Tom Symondson. "We have welcomed funding for additional care minutes but there is no escaping the fact that it requires us to recruit thousands of extra staff in the context of record low unemployment and a global shortage of nurses," Mr Symondson said. "To give older Australians the care they deserve, government and providers need to work together to fix current funding shortages and workforce shortfalls." Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: Did you know? Manning River Times online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sport, what's on and entertainment - they also have access to our print editions in digital format, with all the advertisements and classifieds at their fingertips.