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RDNS and RSL Care merger ignites expansion plans

Royal District Nursing Service,RDNS,RSL Care,aged
Photo: RSL Care chair Pat McIntosh
Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) and RSL Care are merging to create possibly Australia’s largest independent, not-for-profit aged care provider.

The organisations today announced merger plans designed to establish an organisation of more than 6000 nurses and other staff, comprising 2500 RDNS employees and 3700 RSL Care employees.

Together, the providers will deliver home nursing and support, retirement living and residential care for 25,000 customers a day, primarily across the eastern seaboard and also in South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand.

In the deal, which was signed off earlier this month, RSL Care and RDNS will continue to operate with their separate brands under the umbrella of RSL Care RDNS Limited.
The new organisation will have an asset base of more than $1 billion and a combined revenue of about $500 million.

RSL Care chair Pat McIntosh said no jobs will be axed under the deal as the combined entity has its sights set on expansion, with a focus on the two most important requirements of consumers - wellness and independence.

“We are looking at expanding our home care and community care services into more health-related services,” he said.

“We are also going to grow it through our residential aged care capability, which we are very good at, our partnership or alliance with Generation Healthcare is going to enable us to acquire more residential aged care assets to be operated by RSL Care into the future.

“The growth will be across all of the aspects of our business - retirement villages, looking at health and wellbeing communities, morphing from the current traditional retirement village - a continuum of care right across the spectrum.

“All of these things mean essentially we are going to need more staff and we need to be able to deliver a wider range of services.”

The merger comes amid rapid changes in the aged care sector with the move to consumer directed care, advances in technology, and the increasing demands of the nation’s ageing population.

Mr McIntosh said the merger marked an exciting time for both organisations but also for the aged care industry.

“It’s probably the one sector in Australia that has got growth potential at the moment,” he said.

“The government cannot afford an aged care industry as it is at the moment but the people don’t want the aged care industry as it is at the moment. What they want is what is affordable by the government.

“We have for once an alignment here and it’s really up to us providers to make sure that we’re out there delivering the service that people want and the one that the government can afford.

“That said, the government has to get onboard here as well because we are not funded for wellness.

“They can’t afford the ailment funding process that we have at the moment but there’s not enough being done to take a wellness approach to funding into the future, and that needs to happen very, very quickly.”

RDNS, established in 1885, is the nation’s oldest and largest home nursing and health care services organisation.

It provides care services to more than 9500 people across Melbourne, parts of regional Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and New Zealand.

It also has a focus on research and innovation through the RDNS Institute and is a Registered Training Organisation with its Education and Learning Centre.

RSL Care, which first began more than 75 years ago, offers home care, retirement living and residential care in metropolitan, rural and remote areas of Queensland and New South Wales.

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords