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Government under pressure over home package data


The federal government has come under pressure for its “woeful” inactivity on releasing home care package data at a key aged care conference in Sydney.

 

In a keynote addresses to stakeholders at the Aged Care Reform after the 2018 Federal Budget conference on Wednesday, Treasurer Scott Morrison said major steps had been taken towards reform, including a $1.6 billion commitment to respond to the demand for more home packages.  

 

But questions were raised about the government’s delay in releasing data on how many people were currently waiting for packages.

 

Opposition spokeswoman on ageing Julie Collins said data for the March quarter should have been available almost two months ago. 

 

More than 100,000 were waiting as of December last year, she said. 

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the budget made a sizeable commitment to addressing demand for home care packages.

 

“That is latest figure we have. We don’t have any new figures because the government is sitting on it,” she said.

 

“We were told by the department in estimates that this data is usually released within two months at the end of the quarter, so you would have thought maybe early June.

 

“But the minister tweeted at me last week that we’re not releasing the data until August and one would have to ask why.

 

“How are we going to have reform … if we can’t be upfront about what’s going on?” 

 

Jeff Feibig, general manager of strategy and partnership at the not-for-profit provider ACH Group, said the current situation was “woeful” and was making it difficult for providers to plan ahead.

 

“You’re expecting organisations to make decision about their future plans, their future growth strategies, their infrastructure strategies without the data to support what some might call a free market approach,” he said in a comment from the floor.

 

Acting health department deputy secretary of ageing and aged care Lisa Studdert said it was up to the government to release the data. 

 

“It’s a decision for government when that occurs,” she said.

 

David Tune, author of the 2017 Legislated Aged Care Review and the 2016 Aged Care Roadmap, said the budget had failed to address continued investment in the home care system and the government needed to reassess its planning ratios.

 

“The government currently has an aged care planning ratio which is based on achieving 125 places mixed between residential and home care per 1000 people aged 70 or more,” he said.

 

“They’ll meet that but we need to go higher. I’d like to see as we move forward, some consideration of this aged care planning ratio and whether where we get to … is going to do the job for us into the future. I fear the answer is no.”

 

Mr Morrison acknowledged there was more work to be done on meeting demand for home care but defended the budget response, saying an additional 20,000 packages had been funded since the December budget update.

 

“We think that is an excellent start in addressing this issue,” he said.

 

“In this year’s budget we made a very sizable commitment … particularly in the high level care packages. 

 

“There’s more work to be done there but that work requires the economy to continue to strengthen so that we can continue to deliver on reliving that need in the community.”

 

Australian Ageing Agenda is a media partner of the conference.

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4 Responses to Government under pressure over home package data

  1. David Napier July 26, 2018 at 11:05 am #

    This is an absolute disgrace, I myself am ok but this took me from Nov 2015 till July 2018 to receive my Aged Care Level 4 and only after I decided to appeal my last ACAT completed Feb 2018, it has been a very stressful time, I had absolutely no assistance from anyone in getting my case looked at earlier, contacted my local member, minister, totally useless, I am an advocate a d articulate, but this would have to be the most difficult advocacy I have ever been involved in, the lack of transparency and accountability makes MAC a very frightening agency to deal with, they cannot tell you anything they are purely and simply a referral agency nothing else, thank you for high lighting this issue and if I can help in anyway to prosecute better service for Aged in particular Aged with profound disabilities p!ease do not hesitate to contact me..

  2. Robert Farrow July 27, 2018 at 12:22 pm #

    Yes it is “woeful” but what you are ALL missing here is even IF the government does actually ever meet its Home care Commitments where the hell are the staff coming from!!!????

    Every one is concentrating on packages which of course we need but the figure are out, especially in NSW where their nursing shortage has reached critical. PCA’s, AIN’s are in short supply everywhere but what does immigration do…. puts road blocks on bringing in suitable people who can meet the stringent requirements especially students by saying they must have a reason to return home, GTE… Genuine temporary Entry!!
    We need qualified staff, we do not have them here so we need to import them.

    I’m doing my bit bringing Nurses from the Philippines but its a long hard road and will never on it’s own meet the demand…we need visionary thinkers and doers not the current bunch who just procrastinate… Where is the :Living Longer Living better program legislated in 2012!!!
    In that survey it stated we need 700,000 carers by 2025…. what is being done…nothing!!

    I hope somebody will listen.

  3. Linda woodward July 27, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

    I to have been waiting for a Level 4 package since March last year.

  4. Janet Pearce July 30, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

    Mr Morrison acknowledged there was more work to be done on meeting demand for home care.
    Remember these are real people, vulnerable older people,some who are being supported by carers. The real impact of insufficient home care packages are safety risks for older people and mental health risks for carers who continue to support their older folk although their own physical and mental health deteriorates while waiting,and waiting, for an aged care package.
    What is it all about? It is about the people!

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