Deregulate aged care, conference delegates hear

An overregulated aged care sector is preventing providers from delivering even better services, says industry insider.

An overregulated aged care sector is preventing providers from delivering even better services – that was one of the messages to come out of an industry event in Sydney on Monday.

Speaking at the Aged & Community Care Providers Association’s NSW/ACT state conference, Robert Orie – chief executive officer of Jewish aged care provider Montefiore – called on the government to step back and reel in the regulation.

“From my view, the simple thing is we need the government to get a little bit out of the way of the aged care sector and allow us to do what we do best and that’s providing great care outcomes for people.

“Because at the moment, the framework we operate under is really more of an obstacle and an impediment than it is enabling us to actually do great things … We need to look at how the government can deregulate a bit in aged care and allow providers to be able to deliver great services.”

Mr Orie was participating in a panel discussion asking, What does excellent care look like and what do we need to do to deliver it?  

Delegates at the ACCPA NSW/ACT state conference

Angela Robinson – national advisor community care at Calvary – told delegates at the Hilton Sydney Hotel that, as far as she was concerned, the aged care sector was already excelling.

“I think there’s a lot of excellence that happens every day.” The sector, she added, should be prouder of itself. “I don’t think we celebrate it enough – I think we do extraordinary things every day.”

Helen Miller is general manager in-home support services at LiveBetter. “We’re a home care provider in regional, rural and remote NSW and Queensland,” Ms Miller told delegates. “For us, it’s about the partnership that occurs between us as a provider and our consumers.”

She added that to achieve excellence in aged care you also needed a great workforce. “It’s about having the right staff with the right skill in the right place – that’s really, really important.”

Lee Carissa – CEO of aged care and retirement living provider Cranbrook Care – asked, if providing quality care was a given, how else then can providers achieve excellence in aged care?

“Excellence – if it’s not care – how else do we deliver it? It might be services, leisure and lifestyle activities. It might be just going that extra mile with the concierge-type services – but that’s what I believe excellence in care is.”

Representing consumers on the panel, Samantha Edmonds – manager, policy and systemic advocacy at the Older Persons Advocacy Network – said: “In terms of excellence in aged care, it should be affordable, and it should equitable. So even if I can’t pay doesn’t mean I don’t get the same services as everyone else.”

Addressing the funding of aged care, panel facilitator and ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson said the sector needed to be realistic. “We have to be honest about what society can afford to provide and what’s reasonable and what’s not … what is the responsibility of society, the taxpayer to provide?”

This brought Mr Symondson on to the subject of co-contributions. Acknowledging there could be some resistance to the idea, Mr Symondson said: “If the community doesn’t want them, we won’t have them. But we then have to be really honest that we can’t actually deliver what people want because the taxpayer can’t afford that without any change at all. But there are serious sustainability challenges so let’s have active conversations like this – that’s how we get there.”  

Main image left to right: Angela Robinson, Robert Orie, Helen Miller, Tom Symondson, Samantha Edmonds, Lee Carissa

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Tags: ACCPA, angela robinson, featured, helen miller, lee carissa, robert ori, samantha edmonds, Tom Symondson,

1 thought on “Deregulate aged care, conference delegates hear

  1. Just as we’re being slammed with an unprecedented amount of regulatory interventions, providers are still singing the same old song…give us more money but leave us alone.
    I’d be interested to know exactly how the current framework is preventing Montefiore from “…doing great things.”?
    Where is this parallel universe where “providing quality care was a given…” and ” the aged care sector is already excelling.”?
    The government certainly has no intention of getting out of the way, (we’ve seen what happens when providers are left to their own devices) convinced it can legislate its way out of this mess.
    The latest tsunami of misguided and onerous regulatory interventions continue to target the administrative component and fail to address the core reason for care failures…our low paid and largely unskilled carer workforce.
    We’ll see how that works out.
    Rather than calling for less intervention, perhaps we should be focused on more appropriate intervention?

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