Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government and the Commonwealth have signed an agreement to alleviate the impact of residential aged care shortages in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.

Under the plan, up to 35 temporary aged care beds will be offered for elderly patients, allowing them to be discharged from hospitals while they await residential aged care placements.

The NSW government will offer approximately 75% of the funding to open 20 additional transition beds in the Illawarra, totalling nearly $5m annually.

An additional 15 transitional beds, with four already in place in Nowra, will be jointly financed in the Shoalhaven.

The move aims to free up hospital beds, improve access to emergency departments, and address the challenges posed by residential aged care bed shortages.

Appointment of staff is in progress, with talks ongoing with Figtree Private Hospital to launch a 20-bed ward.

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This collaborative effort between the NSW and federal governments seeks to deliver appropriate care to older residents in need.

The additional aged care beds will become available in the coming months.

Cunningham federal member Alison Byrnes said: “The federal government is committed to improving the attraction, retention and the sustainability of the care workforce by delivering a 15% pay rise on award wages for aged care workers, having at least one registered nurse available to care for residents at all times – 24 hours a day, every day of the week; and developing an Industry Labour Agreement to streamline the recruitment of qualified direct care workers to work in the aged care sector.”