A coalition of aged care provider groups is calling on the Government to use the Federal Budget to focus on the third of the aged care royal commission’s recommendations it says will give seniors the maximum benefit in the quickest amount of time.
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration launched a 15-point implementation plan that prioritises 52 of the commission’s 148 recommendations in the four key areas of human rights, access and choice, workforce, transparency, and sustainability.
The implementation plan was released on Monday, the same day as a group of 12 consumer peaks also released a joint statement identifying a coordinated set of measures the Federal Government must deliver in the next 18 months (read more here).
The AACC’s report Aged care – the way forward calls on the government to start from July 2021 with the recommended indexation amendments to increase the subsidy annually in line with wages, extending the 30 per cent increase in the Viability Supplement and adding $10 to the residential daily basic fee.
It is asking the government to commit to establishing an independent aged care pricing authority by July 2022, funding to remove the home care package waiting list by December 2022 and implementing enhanced transparency and accountability provisions by the same date.
It is also calling for it legislate a rights-based Aged Care Act by July 2023, implement a new integrated and uncapped aged care program and a blended funding model for providers to engage allied health professionals both from July 2024.
AACC spokesperson and Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said the Federal Budget was an opportunity to set a plan to transform the aged care system.
“We have focused on a 15-point plan in four key focus areas, which will provide the quickest and most effective way to deliver better outcomes for older Australians now, but also position us to transform the aged care system going forward,” Mr Rooney told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“We know that the royal commission has identified that aged care workers and providers do a good job with limited resources and often challenging circumstances.”
He said the AACC would like the government to outline their commitment to the aged care sector.
“We’d like to see first and foremost a clear statement from the Australian Government articulating their commitment for the total overhaul of the aged care system. No more tinkering at the edges. And with that a clear statement, plan and timetable that then builds on [our] 15-point plan across the four focus areas that we’ve put forward,” Mr Rooney said.
The AACC has spent time with its members, consumers and other key stakeholders to establish these priorities, he said.
These priorities also include:
- announcing a timetable to remove the Aged Care Approvals Round
- introducing regulation to ensure physical and chemical restraint is only used as a last resort and part of a plan approved by a behaviour expert
- funding the establishment of a regional network of care finders and scalable assessment services
- appointing an Inspector-General of Aged Care to introduce independent standards setting arrangements
- announcing a joint Australian Government, employer and union application to the Fair Work Commission in 2021-22 to increase minimum award wages
- funding a workforce program to support training, clinical placements, scholarships and other initiatives to respond to workforce challenges in a targeted manner
- providing funding and a timetable for the progressive implementation of the royal commission’s recommendations
- announcing funding for designing and implementing a national registration scheme for personal care workers.
Fellow alliance spokesperson and Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow said a total overhaul of funding and workforce was the only way to guarantee an aged care system where all older Australians received the respect and dignity they deserved.
“The royal commission made it clear we need to put older people, their needs and a rights-based system first. To make that possible, big picture reform of the entire system is necessary. As part of this big picture reform we must see the critical aged care workforce grow and be well supported through better pay, conditions and training,” she said.
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration is an alliance of six aged care peak bodies representing 1,000 organisations who deliver 70 per cent of government-subsidised aged care services to 1.3 million Australians.
The AACC, which was established in February, comprises Aged and Community Services Australia, Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia and UnitingCare Australia.
View the full report here.