National Seniors Australia is disappointed that neither of the two major political parties have committed extra funding to fix Australia’s aged care mess. There is a dire need to triple the number of high-level aged care packages for vulnerable older Australians.
While the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hasn’t yet released its findings, it has made it crystal clear what needs to be done in home care. It found home care needs a minimum of an extra $2 billion dollars a year.
Despite this, and with the election only days away, neither party has yet committed to additional funding. While we would expect either party will implement recommendations from the Royal Commission in 2020, National Seniors calls on all parties to begin the process of fixing the aged care system now.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said “Older Australian’s can’t afford to wait for the Royal Commission’s recommendations.”
“It appears neither party is prepared to take any major action before the Royal Commission hands down its findings. This is deeply disappointing not just to the hundreds of thousands of Australians needing care, but also their families. We can and must do better as a nation.”
He said this election campaign would be remembered for the disgraceful lack of policies and commitment on aged care.
“The Royal Commission has uncovered appalling evidence of aged care failure and it is time for all parties to commit to action and explain to voters their plans and resourcing for fixing the system,” he said.
“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 130,000 people are still on the waiting list.
“The fix is 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,” Mr Henschke said.
Mr Henschke said the description of the present system by the Royal Commission’s senior Counsel Assisting, Dr Tim McEvoy QC as “cruel unfair, disrespectful and discriminatory” was damning.
“On any measure”, Dr McEvoy QC commented, “delays of this magnitude to access the care and support that is actually needed is unacceptable and raises real safety risks. 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”.
Mr Henschke said there were initiatives that could be committed to now, to begin the process of repairing the damaged system, and called once again for the tripling of level 3 and 4 home care packages.
National Seniors Media contact: 0488047380