Australia’s adoption of a new national system providing advocacy for older people receiving aged care has progressed with the Commonwealth this morning releasing an updated draft framework and opening the funding round to deliver services.
With aged care moving to a market-based system where consumers pay more for their care and services in return for greater control, the issue of independent advice and advocacy for older people has become crucial.
Advocacy services work with older people and their families, particularly the more vulnerable, to help them understand their aged care options and to resolve issues or concerns.
The updated framework released today has been informed by 33 submissions from the current advocacy services, aged care organisations and older people that were provided to government during consultations in September and October last year.
But the department said there are still issues that require further consideration and consultation, “which will be done as part of the further development and finalisation of the framework.”
The development of a national framework was one of the key recommendations in the report of the review into Australia’s current advocacy services, which the government released in February last year.
That review also recommended combining the two current advocacy schemes into an integrated national program, which would be guided by the framework.
Currently the government funds advocacy services through the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) and the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).
These services are delivered by nine different organisations – one in each state and the ACT and two in the Northern Territory.
Last August the nine groups told AAA they had signed an agreement to formalise their Older Persons Advocacy Network and strengthen cooperation between the services (read our story here).
The current advocacy services are funded until the end of June.
Opening the competitive funding round today, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the government would work with the successful provider or providers, and other key stakeholders, to finalise the new framework.
The tender documents show the government is open to considering a single national provider who can deliver the advocacy services nationally or one provider in each state and territory.
The Commonwealth is providing up to $25.7 million to deliver the services from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020, the documents show.
Applications for the funding round close on 31 March.
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