Australian aged care providers are moving into China, encouraged by the size and demographics of the ageing population and the growing middle class able to pay for aged care for their parents and their future selves.
Demographics and financial projections have underpinned the Chinese Government’s ambitious plans announced in 2016 to accelerate the development of an aged care system and promote the construction of aged care facilities.
The Chinese aged care market could be worth approximately A$787 billion today and more than triple to be worth A$2.5 trillion by 2030, according to the China Aged Care Industry Report 2016-2020.
South Australian aged care providers Eldercare, Southern Cross Care (SA&NT) and Life Care have formed the joint venture entity Australian Ageing and Wellness Services.
AAWS recently signed the first 12 month contract to deliver coaching and development services to the new aged care provider Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Yantai, Shandong, said Brendan Bowler, who is chair of AAWS and also Southern Cross Care (SA & NT).
“For the first contract, we are sending five Australian-trained bilingual registered nurses to work alongside Chinese staff in a newly established residential aged care facility in Penglai,” Mr Brendan Bowler told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“This program is supported by Adelaide-based senior staff from the three providers who will visit China on a regular basis to provide ongoing supervision and support to the nurses as well as guidance to the Chinese management team to achieve its business development objectives.”
The nurses will deliver a 48-week clinical and care program that includes formal training, practical skills development and hands-on coaching and the Chinese management teams will be supported by AAWS to develop effective care systems and clinical governance, he said.
The collaboration between the three not-for-profit organisations provides an exciting opportunity to share capabilities internationally, generate new business opportunities and offer employees the chance to work and learn together to implement high-quality services in a new environment, Mr Bowler said.
“The value of this collaboration provides opportunities for our staff to expand their skills by sharing their knowledge both locally and internationally. It also promotes improved partnerships with a range of different sectors throughout South Australia including local government, tertiary institutions, architectural firms and other local suppliers,” he said.
In terms of economic value, however, Mr Bowler said it would be pre-emptive to predict that at this early stage of the venture.
Sapphire joint venture
Melbourne-based Sapphire Holdings is another aged care provider heading to China. It is involved in a joint venture with the Fosun Group in China to construct and operate an upmarket residential care facility in the Haidian area of Beijing.
The facility is due to open around Easter 2018, Sapphire International Holdings CEO Carol Allen told AAA.
In addition to residential aged care, the consortium aims to build up a continuum of health care products including community-based care, retirement and assisted living and rehabilitative services.
It will leverage the expertise and resources of Sapphire Holdings Group’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Sapphire Care and Blue Cross.
The recently merged entities own and operate 35 residential aged care homes with 2,700 beds and have more than 850 community clients.
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