The Federal Government will invite 100 aged care providers to a special forum to share their views on the proposals for future reform of the sector put forward in the Aged Care Roadmap, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ken Wyatt has told Australian Ageing Agenda.

The event, to take place in either Sydney or Melbourne in February, will be attended by a cross-section of providers representing metropolitan and rural and remote Australia as well as special needs groups such as Aboriginal, culturally and linguistically diverse and LGBTI seniors, as well as peak bodies.

Ken Wyatt
Ken Wyatt

The government received the roadmap in April but is yet to provide a response to its wide-ranging recommendations which include the deregulation of aged care places and prices and removing the distinction between residential and community care.

The roadmap was developed by the Aged Care Sector Committee, the government-appointed body representing aged care providers, peak bodies, older people and professional groups.

Mr Wyatt told AAA that while he had been engaging with various committees and groups on the proposals, he wanted to hear from providers working at the frontline.

“All of my meetings are with committees, often with peak organisations, and that’s not a criticism, they reflect the members who belong to them, but I also want to get some providers at the table and hear some of the thinking they have,” he said.

The invited providers would be given an opportunity to talk with government and Department of Health bureaucrats about the directions outlined in the roadmap, Mr Wyatt said.

The government wants provider input on the short, medium and long-term proposals contained in the roadmap as well as feedback on reforms currently underway and how they influence future changes, he said.

Earlier this month Mr Wyatt confirmed the government had ruled out the full deregulation of residential aged care places until adequate safeguards can be put in place ensuring provision of care in regional and rural areas (read AAA’s story here).

Mr Wyatt also made it clear that any future reforms would need to consider special needs groups, such as Aboriginal seniors, veterans and LGBTI seniors, as well as those living in rural and remote areas.

Related AAA coverage: Roadmap: stakeholders look to government, opposition to support reform proposals

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  1. Why do reforms have to consider “special needs” groups, when all we want is the best care possible for ALL our seniors?

  2. Maybe carers of people living with dementia should be included in the group being invited to attend the discussion on the on the Aged Care Roadmap in February 2017. I facilitate a Carers Support Group and can recognize the value of their input as the 24/7 in- home carer.

  3. I’d have to agree with ‘country carer’ about this focus on ‘special needs’ even though I understand well the need to respond to some disadvantaged or groups that need more support. The ‘special needs’ groups in the end become special interest groups when the real focus should be care for all. This is paramount as it builds knowledge and competencies for a diverse workforce (inc management) in the delivery of care. Suggest that among the 100 providers there is a mix of small-medium-large players that represent or at least aim to represent the diversity of place where older live and receive care. Let’s not always privilege the loudest voice. What about a “lottery” for players that register to participate rather than be invited to do so.

  4. It is really important that the number of providers is equally represented by the same number of consumer representative/family members. Too often the voice of residents is left behind those who have representation powers

  5. It would be terrific to make such discussions more accessible to older people to attend, in particular older people who are isolated, and could be supported by the frontline staff to attend in a supplementary forum, to weigh information and views with frontline experiences. Older people are the ones ultimately affected by the reforms and are the ones who are expected to be in control and driving the market and many older people do not have the opportunity to voice their experiences and their wishes in how reforms can work better for them.

  6. Quite right, Kylie. Too many such discussions assume our seniors are all computer and internet savvy, when in reality, this is very far from true. Those who are most affected are the ones whose opinion should be most valued.

  7. I have to agree with Kylie…the voice of the consumer is not being heard. Consumer inclusion, opportunity for the smaller isolated organisations in regional and rural areas (not just Metroplitan) to be heard to obtain a real overview of the issues and struggles. As a Consumer Representative we go with this slogan…..”we do it best when we do it together”. This has proven to be true, time and time again. Quoting Country Carer, ” those who are most affected are the ones whose opinion should be most valued” …… and can I add ….”heard”.

  8. Good that the consultation wants to consider the needs of groups often marginalised – as mentioned Indigenous, CALD and LGBTI. A word re LGBTI: such a handy term bundling together minorities in the sexual orientation and gender diverse categories. However it really is nonsensical to conflate sexual orientation and gender identity. Yes we hear the term LGBTI everywhere nowadays but that is because people have decided on this term as a convenience and perhaps because they are still getting used to talking or thinking about lesbians and gay men, transgender people and others seen as queer.
    Lesbian lives differ considerably from those of gay men, in fact we have more in common with heterosexual women than we do with gay or straight men. Hence needs for ageing lesbian women will differ from those of gay men and transgender persons. Please bear this in mind when you are developing policy, planning programs and structuring research.
    Mostly services etc today realise that Indigenous peoples’ needs differ from those of mainstream Australians and so tailor their enquirers, consultations, policies relevantly. So too, you must ask lesbians what and how we want.

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