National Seniors welcomes Royal Commission interim report

National Seniors Australia, the country’s peak member organisation for older Australians, has welcomed the release of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Interim Report.

The report, titled Neglect, is a damning wake up call to the aged care sector and for the government to respond immediately to failings in care, health and safety.

National Seniors’ Chief Advocate Ian Henschke particularly welcomes the recommendation to act now and increase the number of home care packages.

“When you have more people waiting for home care than actually receiving it, you know you have a broken system.

“There are about 99,000 older Australians receiving home care right now and 120,000 on the waiting list and that’s just an abject failure by the government,” he said.

The commission heard that last year 16,000 older Australians died while waiting for a home care package.

Mr Henschke paid tribute to Commissioner, the late Richard Tracey, who co-authored the interim report before he died earlier this month from cancer.

“Commissioner Tracey is to be applauded for the work and his frankness in his investigation,” he said

“The best way we can honour his legacy is to take heed of his advice in fixing a system which is letting down not just older Australians but their families as well.”

Mr Henschke said the government and industry could not afford to wait until next year’s recommendations from the Royal Commission before acting.

“Today signals a new dawn in the era of aged care.

“We have an opportunity now to serve the people who have served us throughout the years and they deserve much better than rotting in an aged care bed, with maggots feeding on festering sores,” he said.