Care can’t wait

Doctors and nurses are backing calls for the government to act to fix aged care.

The Royal Commission has already identified serious and dangerous shortcomings in the system in its interim report, and more concerns will surface before the Commission delivers its final recommendations next year.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) say we cannot afford to wait until then.

The organisations argue the Federal Government can make immediate improvements to aged care by providing:

  • mandatory minimum staff-to-resident ratios, including ensuring sufficiently skilled nurses in residential aged care facilities (RACFs)
  • increased GP aged care Medicare rebates for patients to facilitate enhanced medical practitioner care of aged care residents
  • expanded home care investment to allow more older Australians to stay in their own homes longer, and relieve pressure on residential aged care services.

A fight for quality and quantity

The announcement echoes National Seniors’ position on aged care reform in our recent Budget submission.

As the Royal Commission heard, the problem and the fix are obvious – 16,000 people died last year waiting for home care packages, and almost 120,000 people are still on the waiting list.

The government needs to invest the $2 billion to $2.5 billion dollars annually in more home care packages - as estimated by the Health Department in its submission to the Royal Commission, as well as tripling Level 3 and 4 home care packages.

The description of the present system by the Royal Commission’s Senior Counsel Assisting, Dr Tim McEvoy QC as “cruel unfair, disrespectful and discriminatory” is damning.

“On any measure, delays of this magnitude to access the care and support that is actually needed is unacceptable and raises real safety risks”, said Dr McEvoy QC.

“There are more people waiting for care and support from a home care package at their assessed level, than there are people receiving a home care package”.

To keep up to date with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and to find out how you can push for reform to the system, check out the advocacy section of our website.

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