The Minister for Aged Care is hosting multi-stakeholder sessions around the country as he applies the concept of co-design to the breadth of aged care reform, he has told a national aged care conference.
Aged care minister Ken Wyatt told the Aged & Community Services Australia national summit on Tuesday he would be “very actively” consulting and collaborating with aged care providers and older Australians over the coming months while he considered the various reports and steps in the reform process.
“I am hosting a number of targeted and dynamic think tank sessions,” Mr Wyatt told the Cairns audience in a pre-recorded video presentation.
“I am midway through a series of at least half a dozen think tank sessions, which are being held in various states, ranging from consumer opinions to provider innovation and indigenous aged care,” Minister Wyatt told Australian Ageing Agenda following his presentation.
“I am determined to canvas a broad spectrum of ideas and opinions from right across the sector to inform decision-making about the best ways to ensure quality aged care that is sustainable and is responsive to people’s needs,” he said.
He called on all ACSA delegates to participate in the process.
Residential care funding
Elsewhere in his address, Mr Wyatt said the several reports under consideration and underway looking into funding for residential aged care including alternatives to the Aged Care Funding Instrument were important to ensure that funding was equitable and sustainable.
He has also received the comprehensive review into ACFI undertaken by Applied Aged Care Solutions and said he was considering the most effective way to consult with the sector on its findings.
“I want to stress that no decisions have yet been made on future funding, and we are exploring all options. This will take some time, and decisions will not be rushed.”
However, Shadow Minister for Ageing Julie Collins criticised the government for being slow to act on a number of reports including the University of Wollongong’s report on alternative funding methods.
Ms Collins, who also appeared at the conference via a pre-recorded video presentation, reiterated Labor’s stance that ACFI was “broken”.
On responding to issues of quality, she challenged providers to “take an active role in leading an innovative and progressive approach” to deliver a high quality care sector.
Home care data
In home care, Ms Collins said changes to the program, which in February placed packages in the hands of consumers rather than providers, have been undermined by poor implementation.
She further lamented the government for failing to release the much-awaited home care queue data.
“Despite a commitment to release wait times in July, and then again in August, we are now into the second week of September and vulnerable older Australians still do not know when they will receive the home care packages they are eligible for,” Ms Collins said.
On the national queue for home care packages, Mr Wyatt told the audience the data would be available “shortly” for clients and providers.
AAA understands this data will be released this week when the government tables the final report of the Aged Care Legislated Review.
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