Op ed: Butler’s stroke of ACFI genius

CEO of Amana Living in WA, Ray Glickman reckons he’s discovered the true path to Living Longer, Living Better and it’s a perversely inverse approach to quality aged care. CARTOON by Fiona Katauskas.

Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas.

As the Government’s cuts to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) continue to cause anger and consternation among residential aged care providers, CEO of Amana Living in WA, Ray Glickman, has channelled his frustration into satire, published here as opinion*.

Butler’s inverse law of quality aged care
By Ray Glickman.

Minister Butler is a creative genius. And now that the slashing of ACFI is out in the open, it’s official!

How silly are we in the aged care sector, what with our conventional, out of date thinking? You see, there we were all that time rusted on to wrong-headed, old-fashioned notions.

It seems really obvious now, but at the time it kind of made sense. I mean, really, you can forgive people for thinking that if you invest more money in care, you’ll get better care. It seems absurd now, but back then we actually thought that if you provided more money for care that meant you could employ more staff, train them better, be more skilled in clinical assessments and provide more timely, individualised therapy. We thought that was the way to provide better quality care.

But now, thanks to Mr Butler taking ten times more out of ACFI than anyone realised, we see that we have found the true path to people living longer and living better.

Now, if  you’re one of those old fuddy-duddies who still doesn’t get this, let me explain. I’ll make it simple for you with a real life example. 

So, there’s this 89 year old woman in a residential care facility in Perth. She’s someone’s mother and grandmother, by the way. Anyway, she basically has to have everything done for her. She has to be fed and toileted and washed and given medicines and for her to leave her bed, there has to be a hoist and two staff involved so they don’t injure themselves. I know there’s nothing so special in that – that’s what high care facilities basically do.  So this grandma is just an ordinary high care resident.

Anyway, this old lady, let’s call her Enid, was getting OK care before July 1 even though her care provider only received $114 for her care each day. No, it doesn’t sound much I know for all that staff time and equipment and food and dressings and everything, but somehow they got by.

Anyway, thanks to Mr Butler’s creative genius, she’s getting much better care now that the 1st of July has come round. Now, pay attention, because this is really clever. You see, if for any reason Enid had to go to hospital for a spell and then came back home again to the aged care facility all fixed up, then guess what. The care provider would only receive $52 per day for all that staff time and equipment and food and dressings that are all actually getting more expensive every day. And then the care provider would probably go broke receiving less than half of what they used to get to provide the same care to the same person. And they don’t want that, do they?

So what are the providers doing? Well they’re now providing Enid with totally amazing care somehow for the old price. After all, they have to keep her in tip-top shape and out of hospital even though she’s 89 and otherwise might succumb to any ailment at any time. 

So you get it now, don’t you? It’s brilliant, isn’t it? It’s Butler’s inverse law of aged care quality. The less funding you provide, the better care people get!

That’s the secret to living longer and living better. As an aged care professional, I’m kicking myself. Why didn’t I think of that?

…ends…

For background to this issue, see previous reports from Australian Ageing Agenda:

29 June 2012:  ACFI on the airwaves

28 June 2012: The fight is about to begin

28 June 2012: Nothing but a smokescreen

26 June 2012:  ACFI changes not welcome

22 June 2012:  ACFI changes announced

* The views represented in this opinion piece belong to Mr Ray Glickman in his capacity as CEO of Amana Living, WA.  They do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher, its agents, company officers or employees.

Tags: acfi-reform, amana-living, cartoon, op-ed, ray-glickman,

130 thoughts on “Op ed: Butler’s stroke of ACFI genius

  1. What is Mr Butler up to! This is a ridiculous situation which can only lead to a reduction in the quality of care of our vulnerable older people. I have a 95 year old mother who lives in residential care and the very idea that she could have even her basic needs met with LESS funding is outrageous.

    Minister Butler should be ashamed of himself and of his party. They won’t be getting MY vote again.

    Shame, Mr Butler, Shame…

  2. The Gillard Government needs to take a good look at their priorities. They are hurting ageing Australians and the not-for-profit industry that works tirelessly to support them

  3. Is this Mark Bulter’s idea of living longer, living better? What happened to the Australian way of ‘paying it forward’, as did our yester year tax paying elders, seeking comfort in their final decades?

  4. Whilst I believe our current residential care model needs to be consigned to the history books, until we get more innovative models and funding it is essential we do not reduce the meagre funds available to aged care providers. They do not have enough to do basic care well at the moment, any cuts would be a disaster. So much for aged care reform!

  5. My organisation is going to be impacted by a 5.6% reduction in its real operating income as a result of this lack of thought and foresight by a Government that clearly does not listen, and simply does not understand Aged Care.

    This Living Longer: Living Better reform is a con, it is nonsense, it lacks substance, it is ill-considered and quite frankly is a massive smack in the face to all Aged Care providers.

    Graham Francis – CEO. SwanCare Group.

  6. I hear that one of the major reasons for this cut is that residential aged care is growing faster than the beancounters projected at 2.5% per year. I wonder if anyone told Enid and her family that she is getting older and frailer quicker than planned by the beurocrats. So sorry Enid we can only fund you for being 50% as frail as you are. So to all our seniors out there staying at home for as long as you can/ choose to/ wish to, remember, when you do need residential care your government will only take on and fund 2.5% of you. You better hope that by then there are even any residential care facilities left to care for you. Especially in the bush.

  7. Well said Ray,I have spent weeks reviewing our operational budgets to try and establish a response to the departments cuts. The strategies have included staff cuts, whilst the department creates additional administrative arms. We are now have been struggling to find a way of funding a new 110 bed facility, as the banks are indicating an incapacity to fund construction given the uncertainty of the funding models delivered by this government. We have over 120 applications for high care beds, with applicants in tears in my office because we can’t provide them a high care bed. As a specialist CALD provider we have additional cost related to providing these specialist services , with no current recognition in funding for these needs. I have worked in health related roles most of my working life. I have seen many changes in funding structures and changes in health provision. This however would appear to me as the most ill-considered and most frustrating negative change in funding structures, ignoring every indicator of its impact on providers. We are an agent of Government providing services to the community. In my view the department is now in breach of its contract to the aged in our communities to provide these services in an appropriate and safe manner though the constant effective cuts In funding.Yours truely a very frustrated and now Angry CEO trying to provide appropriate care for older Australians on the governments behalf.

  8. Mr Butler and Julie Gillard will be remembered for crippling the aged care system of Australia.
    And whilst we are focusing on the ACFI cuts dont lose sight of the fact that we are being promised further obstacles as of January 2013 which will make it even harder to substantiate our claims through increased evidence requirements and then in July we follow up with future residents having a choice of whether or not we pay a bond.
    Anyone who thinks that community care is able to replace residential care has their head in a paper bag. In many cases all that community care provides is 2 hours care a day leaving the resident’s family to provide the remaining 22 hours support. It also means that we are condemning elderly people to social isolation and carer stress as they feel they have to keep their spouse in the home. We keep hearing about “tragedies” in indonesian waters and seeing politicians weep over those recent events but the REAL TRAGEDY is happening here on home soils as aged care is thrown out by Butler and Gillard – how is it that noone has been weeping about this in recent days? Dont politicians ever feel the need to look to their futures that may result in them needing this care one day?? I hope for their sake they never need it.

  9. Smoke and Mirrors is right. Here we were thinking that older Australians were finally going to get a better deal, following the recent commission reports but oh, no. The Gillard Government has cut $500M from aged care and Mr Butler has abandoned older Australians and the care providers with this decision. If this can be done to Residential Care what trust can we have in the remainder of the Aged Care Reform Agenda.

  10. Outrageous – we have accreditation standards that have to be met but they want to give us less money to meet them. How can best practices and better care be provided when we will have to cut back to cope with the cut in subsidies, if we cut back on staff and services how can we provide adequate care when our families already feel we do not have enough staff. This makes not sense if subsidies havent been enough to date how can cutting them be the answer

  11. . Better industry – by introducing new carbon tax
    . Better Mining – by introducing mining tax
    . Incentives for solar – by removing solar energy rebate and canning insulation subsidy.
    . Better education – by building empty halls.
    . Better border protection – by canning and effective one and failing to find a new one.
    . Better Government – by establishing a “panel” to determine government policy on refugees
    . Fairer distribution of wealth by having a progressive tax system but always “means testing” any benefits.
    . Growing rural industry by banning live exports.
    . Growing fishing by closing 30% of our oceans
    . Looking after all Australians – by only providing for “working families” AH THAT’S IT – RETIRED AND AGED PEOPLE ARE NOT WORKING FAMILIES (EVEN THOUGH THEY ONCE WERE – HOW EASILY WE FORGET.

    Grow accustomed to your 6 week break Mr Butler because after the election you will have all the time in the world.

  12. REVERSE THIS DECISION!
    The Gillard Government should be disgraced by the $500 million cut backs.
    The aged care community has been abandoned by Butler and Gillard.
    This affects my 91 year old Grandmothers care, and all aged care residents like herself as well as their families. Where is the support for those that built our community and country to be what it is today – how can Gillard now leave them by the way side.
    I totally reject the Aged Care Reform agenda and myself and the community call on Butler/Gillard to reverse the decision.
    Action must be taken against this movement!

  13. Residential care for older Australians is being jeopardized due to miserly financing of an essential service, when are going to get it right Mr Butler. Stop the tokenistic consultation and rhetoric. Your need to acknowledge and respect the contributions of older Australians to our way of life, and demonstrate that respect through appropriate levels of funding for residential aged care.

  14. SHAME on Butler for abandoning the aged care community with this decision.
    ACTION now to reverse this decision.
    The impact this has on the aged care residents both current and future is catastrophic.
    Gillard Government, you’ve turned your back on aged care – take action NOW!

  15. We seemed to be heading in the right direction with aged care reform. Now, unfortunately Minister Butler has drastically changed the game plan by introdicing $500 million in cut backs. This will not be good for elderly Australians in need of care and a serious set back for aged care providers. How can we do more with less dollars? It’s outrageous!
    The Government must seriously reconsider their position and reverse their decision quickly before more damage is done.
    Those of us with an interest in aged care will be watching closely and weighing up our options when voting at election time.

  16. This is not a reform, this is a financial claw back to balance a failing budget. These changes will affect Australias must vulnerable, those aged people living with demntia, mental illness and challenging behaviours. This cohort of people is already inappropriately funded through the aged care model and these changes will financial cripple aged care providers willing to provide excellent care to them.
    The quality of a government should be judged by the way it looks after the most marginalised, and this government has devalued Australias elderly and those that work within the industry.

  17. Reform is intended to bring about improvement and advancement however the Gillard Government is making decisions regarding Aged Care that deliver the very opposite. Rather than improving our society’s ability to respect and deliver quality care to some of our most vulnerable citizens the enormous funding cut backs to Aged Care now force providers to compromise in order to survive, or worse still withdraw all services. Aged Care providers already struggled before the announced cut backs, so how can Ministers Gillard and Butler expect reform now by reducing the critical income required by the providers? Both care providers and the elderly in Aged Care have been abandoned by a government that seems to have lost the Australian values of ‘fair go’ and ‘mateship’. True Australian’s do not abandon their tired and weak mates; our ageing parents and our grandparents. True Australians fight for what we believe is fair and just. Reducing the capacity to provide care is NOT fair and NOT right. Those of us who work within the aged care industry call upon all empowered Ministers to reconsider and return the essential Aged Care funding immediately. Now is not the time to turn our backs on our elderly and now is not the time to weaken Australia’s ability to deal with its ageing community. If the Australian Government really wants reform and it wants to be seen as a nation that respects its elders then not only return the funding to Aged Care but also invest in those providers who can deliver a future for ageing Aussies. I want to be a proud citizen of a nation that is measured by the way it positively treats its elderly. At the moment I can’t say I feel very proud of my nation in this regard. Reform must improve, and if it is not, then don’t call it reform. There are better words than reform that can be used for this current situation in Aged Care.

  18. Another absolutely terrible decision by the Gillard Government. Rather than cutting $500 million out of aged care, they need to be putting more money in. Care providers need to be able to provide an adequate level of care with suitably qualified staff. That will only happen if the sector is appropriately funded. Magician Butler, sorry Minister Butler, gives very little with one hand and takes a lot with the other. Come on Mark, these are our most vulnerable people – what are you doing? Reverse this nonsensical decision, then get to work on funding the quality care of older Australians adequately.

  19. As an advocate of the aged care industry, I’m shocked and saddened by the $500 million in cut back the Gillard Government has provided in this new financial year. In light of the mining rent tax also being collected during this period, I would have thought aged care would have received an injection of funding.

    As someone who volunteers in the aged care industry, I have to criticise MP Butler for abandoning providers and consumers with this decision. Mr. Glickman makes the obvious point; how can providers do more with less, especially in a competitive job market? Do you know how hard it is to find carers or retain professional staff with the mining boom going on? (Or maybe Mr. Butler doesn’t understand what sort of hard work caring is – and who would do it for less than a check-out chick at Coles or Woolworths.)

    I call on the public and government to reject the Aged Care Reform agenda. I also implore Mr. Butler and Ms. Gillard to reverse the decision.

    People often ask me why I care about aged care. The answer is always the same; because I plan on growing old and I don’t want it to be grim. Right now, my worst fears will be realised and not just when I need care. Every person currently under care in Australia will suffer beginning this month.

  20. Aged care providers, residents and their families are totally outraged to learn that the Gillard Gov’t is clawing back $500 Million from aged care funding this year. The aged care reform package started out well with the Productivity Commission investigating and reporting, however as normal, the Govt cherry-picked and we only saw some issues picked up, but even then there has been no relief, because we have to wait until 2014 to see any of the benefits. The Grant-Thornton Report indicated that there have been some 50% of aged care providers operating in the red over the past 3 years. Everyone except Minister Butler knows that situation is just not sustainable. So to now claw back these ACFI funds because the Dept of Health & Ageing has made a stuff up with their calculations is an absolute insult. To reduce costs, providers are faced with staff reductions for their is no where else to go. That invariably means a drop in the quality of care delivered, heavier workloads for those remaining and higher risk of injuries to be topped off with increasing levels of complaints and possible non-compliance issues. Regrettably, the much needed aged care reform package looks like becoming another Gillard train wreck because they are taking away the base funding before delivering any tangible benefits. Maybe, we could close our aged care facilities and reopen them to accommodate illegal refugees and asylum seekers – there seems to be unlimited funds available at the Dept of Immigration. That’s certainly the way our residents see it at present

  21. Our sector has waited a long time for our government to value the work we do and to show genuine support for the care of our oldest most frail citizens. I was optimistic on the release of the Productivity Commissions report and I was genuinely energised by a new minister with a background in service and, I believed, an understanding of our sector. Now I am bitterly disappointed with this cynical response underpinned by the insult that our sector is rorting. No amount of political “speak” around “return to trend” will detract from what this is, a less than subtle attempt to support a budget surplus, a desperate attempt for political survival using the most vulnerable as a means to an end. Shame on this Minister and this government.

  22. I have worked in the aged care sector for the last 7 years and have always be astounded at the fabulous care provided by staff on the sniff of an oily rag. Never did I think that Minister Butler and the Gillard Government would stoop so low as to cut $500M out of funding for such old and vulnerable people. I feel particularly angry that Minister Butler has the cheek to say it is not a funding cut. Show me ONE frail elederly resident who will not be affected by this. Shame on you Minister Butler. If I was you, I would start eyeing off the opposition side of the house and ‘bags’ your preferred seat on the back bench. That is where you, the Prime Minister and any of your parliamentary colleagues who were involved in this decision should end up in a matter of months.

  23. Just when we thought aged care was starting to get the long overdue recognition it needs, we find $500m pulled from under us. This will certainly go down in history as a HUGE STEP for Aged Care & the Gillard Government…BACKWARDS! If the decision is not reversed, Minister Butler will be known for leaving our seniors out in the cold.

  24. Funding cuts to aged care is plainly wrong. Minister Butler has taken a big stick to ageing Australians – those who have built this country to be a strong and proud society, one that purports to be humanitarian and economically sound. In the future Enid may be named Julia and as a wise person put it, you meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down.

  25. This is unacceptable Mr Butler. You stroked our sector into believing that you supported positive ageing and had fought to win and support national reforms. Was this just a media exercise? Cutting $500 million hardly is support! Shameful

  26. Shame on Mr Butler for trying to slip the ACFI cuts through, hoping that no one would notice the extra zero. Perhaps he thought that Enid might not notice. How can there be credibility in the “living longer, living better” package now.

  27. Elder Abuse is – the wilful or unintentional acts that causes harm to an older person and which occur within a relationship that implies a level of trust.
    Financial abuse is the illegal and improper use of an older persons finances or property.
    This is a misappropriation of our Residents tax dollars, the ones they paid during a life of working and building this country. That is ELDER ABUSE!
    The Aged Care Commissioner must be called in!

  28. Mr. Butler, where do your values lie? In a Government report I read today the Immigration Dept estimated the cost per detainee at Villawood was $238 per day and $1830 per day at Christmas Island. The national average to accommodate a prisoner is $216 per day. A boarding kennel is advertising a daily rate of $62 per day to care for a large dog. It is outrageous that Enid, one of our frailest and most vulnerable citizens who requires the greatest amount of care, will receive a disgraceful pittance of $52 to pay staff to care for her, her food, her electricity to keep her warm, her laundry and provide the equipment she needs. Shame on you!

  29. Mr Butler, Does your conscience allow you to sleep at night, or do you allow yourself to forget what hardship you are causing to the elder Australians, who have given a great deal of their lives to build Australia into the prosperous country it has become. These people have been lead to believe they would be supported when they became frail and elderly. Cutting $500million Support ??????Absurd.

  30. I just could not believe this mornings news that the pollies had received another payrise, when on the other hand they have taken from aged care. Living Longer Living stronger was all rhetoric.Mr Butler is joke and so are his new policies?? old ones dressed up under another name. Tell your misso members sorry when we have to cut jobs to provide care within the monies you have left us.The most vulnerable are the easiest to take from. Shame on Ms Gillard and her party.

  31. I invite Ian Yates, COTA, to defend the PM, Minister, and Government in respect to the entire Living Longer, Living Better (Bitter) reform package. His silence is noted.

  32. Shame, shame, shame. Please explain to us what you are thinking Mr Butler. Are we missing something here?

    Now you can probably pay for the best care for your Mum but just say you couldn’t would you be happy with the fact that for the care of your dear mother who by no fault of her own became so sick due to the ageing process that she had to be sent to hospital and as a punishment when she is returned to her home and I stress her home not just an aged care facility the government would reduce payments for her care to just $52.00 per day. No wonder they are fed jelly and custard as nourishing food Mr Butler.

    I do wonder if you can sleep well at night. Your evening meal probably costs more than $52.00 Mr Butler.

    I hope and pray that you will re-think this strategy Mr Butler as one day I may be a Enid and I think that having worked all my working life and paid my taxes that my care would be worth more than $52.00 a day Mr Butler. Here’s hoping you bring in that euthanasia bill it sounds much more attractive than $52.00 and obviously we are not worth spending money on so why not just let us die before we get to that stage. Look how much money you would save Mr Butler.

  33. I hope all of you realise that none of this debate and discussion is in the public domain and only seems to be affecting the service providers according to the rheteric here…perhaps someone needs to lobby harder or have the guts to actually do something about this outrageous and discusting lie from the gillard government. Take this to the people and the press and lets see how they handle the heat…..they are not worried about the service providers voice ….your just after money…..money the government wants

  34. What happened to good old Australian compassion and care? Our Government is letting aged care residents and their carers down.
    Thoughtless move by the Gillard Government. Mr Butler; what are you thinking!?
    This affects aged care residents, carers, their families, and the wider community.
    Reverse this decision to bring back support to the elderly and those providing aged care.

  35. The Gillard Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Caring for Older Australians is woeful, and their Living Longer Living Better report shows a cynical and shameful approach to caring for our frail elderly. The speed with which the policy changes are being rammed through, yanking hundreds of millions of dollars out of direct care and forcing agencies to sign up to union agreements for wage management is part of the old rhetoric that smacks of the Governnment policies of the sixties and seventies. There is no innovation and a serious fear of change being displayed by Government. There is no escaping the fact that the Government has decided to treat Providers in the not-for-profit sector like a favourite whipping post and Minister Butler is clearly hoping that we will accept the treatment quietly, politely and continue to provide more for less as we always do!

    As the CEO of a faith-based organisation, I know that we run our organisation on a shoe-string, all our money goes into services; and this is the same for all the providers, it is how we run our services, efficiently, effectively and to the maximum benefit of the clients, not for shareholders or owners. For the Government and Minister Butler to change the arrangements with minimal consultation days before the end of the financial year, leaving providers millions of dollars worse off and still expecting them to provide high quality care is a joke. Its a joke that will be borne by our most vulnerable in our community and by our staff. It is not right, morally or practically. And its a joke that has no-one laughing. This type of approach is not acceptable.
    When I think about individual residents and their families and how much they need and expect in terms of caring support, expert clinical care, decent facilities, good food, at the time when they choose residential aged care, and the cost of all this care as they face into the end of their lives,this treatment is unacceptable. Its time to be different and to stop this ongoing abuse of the aged care services across the country.

  36. The general public have little concern for care of the aged . Spin doctors of the Government and the media love to attack aged care as an easy target. I fear this is a cynical strategy of government and not an accident.If the voting public believe overall that providers of aged care are abusers and thieves they are OK with Governments punitive policies and funding sleight of hand.As mentioned by drew Dwywer above as long as we are talking to ourselves we will be ignored . We will only know we are making inroads if the media produces a new batch of abuse allegations. Maybe this time instead of apologising for a whole industry we stand up and say obviously we, like everyone else condemn any abuses.BUT THIS IS HONESTLY NOT THE REALITY OF AGED CARE .The genuine reality we all see every day is poorly paid people caring with great love and kindness for those who need it in the winter of their lives.
    The other reality is that to Minister Butler our residents are just numbers costing more than projected on a balance sheet. we keep people at home for longer with home care now and those who enter residential care are now in their 80s and 90s with naturally futher advanced disease that in 2002 -2003 or 2006-2007 and yet the Government somehow thinks it reasonable to fund us with levels from then!!

  37. Mr Butler I would like to refer you to the Oxford English Dictionary…

    Reform : To amend is to change for the better by removing faults, errors, or defects, and always refers to that which at some point falls short of a standard of excellence. Advance, better, and improve.

    What you’re undertaking here is NOT reform!! Pull your head in and sort it out!!

  38. Well said Ray. As an industry we have worked in a collegiate manner with the Minister since his appointment. Now one can’t help but feel we have been deceived. Every decision appears to either reduce Govt expenditure, increase Govt receipts and reduce provider income e.g. the NO COPO, ACFI domain reductions and removing bond retentions. The Living Longer/Living better was mostly eloborate spin ( as was the NO COPO announcement) with very little new money. The wages compact appears to be lets take money away from providers now and give it back later to be passed on as wages. Clearly a budget surplus takes precedence over care for older people. Living longer might be true but not living better.

  39. One day Mr. Butler and Miss Gillard will also need an Aged Care facility. They can then reflect on this funding cut. What goes around comes around!! The Labour government is on the Titanic, and the iceberg is just around the corner!!

  40. To dress this up as anything other than a direct threat to the care of our ageing Australians is a lie. Minister Butler and the Gillard Government need to be reminded that these Australians are the ones who layed the foundations over which they now preside. For too long the government has got away with not providing real funding to meet the costs of aged care and this has been possible due to the commitment, passion and hard work of aged care workers. To put out a Living Longer, Living Better reform package and then these cuts is shameful and this decision must be withdrawn.

  41. My mother is in an aged care facility. I have seen the dedicated staff reduced to tears because they cannot attend to the number of residents they are responsible for. Let’s fast forward and we’ll see how Ms Gillard and Mr Butler watch their parents survive in the future nursing homes that they have helped to create. This decision is scandalous!

  42. Aged Care Reform and moving forward is so far from the truth it is not funny.
    We are a small stand alone Rural Facility that provides a quality service and are proud of our hard earnt reputation but the Government keeps shooting us in the foot with ACFI Funding Cuts.
    Every cent counts and we are already facing a deficit so we do not need any more millstones.
    Watched the morning Television News to witness the politicians had received another significant pay rise for services rendered and Aged Care employees
    experience no just rewards as staffing levels will need to be cut to remain viable.Thankyou but no Thankyou to the Gillard Government and Minister Butler.

  43. I have worked in aged care for the past 25 years and I have embraced many of the changes that have been legislated over these years to improve the quality of life for older people residing in residential care. I am passionate about what we do for older people in our community and how we should care for them when they need this. I am absolutely at a loss to understand how the Gillard Government think that $500 million of cut backs wont directly affect the lives of the frail and vulnerable in our care. How dare you Minister Butler ask providers to provide care and services to people with less money when we have been telling you for so long that we cant do it on what we had! Every ridiculous decision you make like this drives the nail in the coffin of quality care for older people. Shame on you and your government.

  44. As CEO of an aged care provider with additional responsibilities to veterans, I am appalled by the government’s action, its timing, lack of notice and minimum consultation. Does this government not understand that providers already operating in a challenging environment, develop budgets, enter into remuneration agreements with dedicated staff, and plan capital projects more than a few days in advance? I resent the confusion resulting from the government’s action and record my concern for the well-being of both our residents and our proud organisation.

  45. As a (non-remunerated) Director of an aged care facility, which is and always has been not-for-profit. this action will significantly negativley impact our ability to provide the level of care for our residents. This was a cheap shot by the Gillard governement to grab cash from the vulnerable.This is less than humane!

  46. I struggle to see how this latest bait and switch equals reform. How are providers supposed to deliver quality care at half the price? I just don’t see it. I can’t begin to express the level of disappointment I feel at this thievery. Government, you need to listen to the people who actually work in this sector and love and care for vulnerable peoeple!!!! Shame on you.

  47. Well said, Ray. In plain English, without spin, the truth is laid out clearly. Mark, Julia….are you listening?

  48. So we thought this government was going to be different, tackle the challenging issues and respect our elders, not do them over!

  49. I have heard it said that the over expenditure on ACFI funding was due to providers rorting the system. I fail to see how this could be the case. Either ACFI validators are missing something or providers are simply maximising a poorly planned and projected ACFI system. If forward projections are not accurate, why should providers, residents and aged care staff be the ones to suffer. Cancelling the MP’s and senators 3% pay increase, 3 months after a hefty increase might be a good place to start when looking for potential cost savings. I am guessing aged care staff in most facilities will not be receiving wage increases due to the Governments announcement on Aged Care Reform, why should politicians.

  50. How very dissapointing the aged care reforms that the industry has been eagerly waiting for, has only increased the pressures on the sector that was readdy struggling with the increase in demand for services. As the CEO of a small organisation I fully support any effort to improve wages and conditions for all staff who work our industry, but not at the detriment of our frail elderly. Please Minister Butler can you reconsider your decision in regards to the ACFI changes and work with the industry to reach a solution that will not impact on resident care and also allow us to pay our staff a proper wage to acknowledge the tremendous contribution they make each day to the lives of our residents and families.

  51. I am a hard-working “baby boomer” fast approaching retirement, as so many of us now are. I also work in the not-for-profit aged care industry and am astounded by the wonderful people here, committed to making life good for the vulnerable in our society. They are stretched to the limit now and this care cannot continue out of good will and commitment alone. Well, it could do so, if there was good will and commitment and sufficient funding from a government that truly cared! SHAME ON YOU, PRIME MINISTER GILLARD AND MINISTER BUTLER! Your deeds are out of kilter with your spinning slogans.
    Heading into old age has become a whole scarier for this individual – SHOOT ME NOW!!!

  52. The Productivity Commission spent many thousands of hours determining an appropriate mechanism by which Australia would be able to Care for its older population going forward. This Government had the chance to allow real reform to materialise. Instead, it has provided a political answer, ignoring a well balanced PC Report. The ultimate loser is the Older Australian and every family that will be effected by the current Governments decision.

  53. Mr Butler, I would love to see the level of care you receive when you are at the vulnerable age and need round the clock care. This isn’t just sticking up for the elderly this is sticking up for the people who work in the industry and protecting so many jobs that may be jeopardised. You are sadly mistaken if you think we in this industry do not have a voice and are we aren’t prepared to stand up for what we all know is right. You are thieves stealing from the elderly and depriving them of what they deserve. Shame on you!

  54. Ray Glickman’s satire is really good depicting how the aged care providers were conned with the smoke and mirrors trickery presented by Minister Mark Butler who at first appeared to be genuinely informed and a huge improvement on Justine Elliot who just couldn’t lie straight in bed with the Spin that used to come out of her office. Aged care reform could have been an area where the Gillard Gov’t could have made a significant difference and provided the level of care for all older Australians requiring it when they need it most, but No they have reduced available funds to be redirected elsewhere. If we are to survive and continue providing quality care with reduced funding, then we had better study up on the secrets of thaumaturgery. Otherwise aged care providers could consider reopening our facilities as accommodation centres for asylum seekers – there seems to be unlimited funding for that

  55. As volunteer coordinator of an aged care organisation I was appalled to hear how this will affect our not-for-profit company.
    It makes me so sad to think the people working in our centres and our residents will really suffer from this
    You will be old one day, just remember that and I hope there is someone who has enough money to look after you and give you the lifestyle you currently enjoy!

  56. As the General Manager of a not for profit group, I am disappointed by the Hon Gillard government, not to invest in the future of aged care accommodation. Already stretched community providers do not have resources to pick up the burden.
    Compassion and the human touch can not be measured in dollars. With out these our elderly become a number rather than a person.

  57. SHAME on the Gillard Government – and SHAME on you Minister Butler for so underhandedly imposing the disgraceful decision to cut $500 billion from Aged Care. A slap in the face for our treasured residents who have contributed so much to this country. A slap in the face for an industry which already survives only through the love, dedication and goodwill of its members. REVERSE THIS DECISION NOW!

  58. How is it that you can find $400 million to go to Tasmania? This was not even in the budget. Looks like you are keeping Andrew Wilkie happy!! He holds the trump card, so taketh from one “non-important” sector and giveth to another. Keep Andrew happy and you will stay in goverment. All of you need to have a reality check!! Not for long, Iceberg is almost there.

  59. How about we admit Gillard and Butler into an aged care facility for one day with only the amount of funding they believe is required. Lets see how long they live and if they feel better…

    One day when they are needing such amazing care – they will be sitting back and realising the disaster that they caused and will regret it for the rest of their days. We would never dream this type of political crime would occur in Australia.

  60. How disappointing Minister Butler! How will “Living Longer, Living Better” actually be possible? This is the complete opposite of reform and our ageing Australians deserve better . Reverse this shameful decision.

  61. I’m astonished at this decision. The way it has been engineered shows a complete failure to grasp the fundamentals of the industry. Moreover, the arrogant/dismissive manner in which it has been communicated displays a complete lack of respect to everyone working in aged care and the residents they care for.

  62. It’s staggering that the Gillard government could imagine this decision would be met with anything other than outrage from the community. Countless families have elderly members that will be affected by this and are not as naive as Butler and co. seem to think they are. This funding grab-back from an industry that already struggles financially smacks of decision-making that is either very heartless or very foolish (but probably both).

  63. Im appauled. YES this is Elder Abuse. How are we going to tell the sons and daughters of the frail aged that their mum or dad will get less care support than someone of the same care needs admitted prior to 1 July 2012?

  64. I have been involved with nursing care for 60 years and find it hard to comprehend what the Goverment is proposing in the new program for the Aged Care Industry.There is so much money spent on providing the car and mining industry with resources to enable them to remain in Australia and provide people with jobs , why can not the Goverment provide for the Australians who have given so much service to this country in the form of care in their declining years.$52day is a paltry amount and would hardly provide the necessary care in the form of a meal let alone all that is required for those requiring high care. My husband has respite care a couple of time a year and though he is low care at this stage he still needs help with a number of ADLs and there is the occasioal time he looses balance and needs asistance.
    I would also like to raise the subject of the Community Aged Care packages and the ACAT services in Western Australia. The CACP concept is wonderful
    but why is there a need to wait 10-12 weeks for assessment by the ACAT team. Is this service being so poorly funded that 1 office deals with all the the clients from ROCKINHAM to MANDURAH and WAROONA,this has a tremendous impact on the health and well being of both those who need assessment and their families, some of whom may be not too far off reaching the age when they need assessement them selves.

  65. The plain truth is really ugly. We are taught all about caring for our elders. We put in place standards of care of which we strive to follow. We have procedures; policies; assessments and care plans – all working towards the common goal of care for our residents. Their families rely on our experience and our knowledge to see that their loved ones are cared for until they die. This Government does not see the tireless care that is given by hardworking staff;their reward – a trusting smile for those that we care for. This is Elder Abuse at its best. Julia Gillard – you should be ashamed – you have a mother and maybe a Grandmother – you are part of a generation that went before you. Have you no compassion – obviously not. To rip funding from the most vulnerable sector of all is cowardly – a money grabbing exercise that no one can possibly vote for.
    Well done!!!!!!

  66. A country’s state of advancement can be best judged by how it treats those in the community who are least able to fend for themselves – the very young and the very frail. If this is how our government intends to treat our vulnerable elderly, it is a very sad indictment on our country and takes us back to the middle ages!
    I am deeply ashamed of a government that would put it’s own political agenda above the well being of a segment of our community who need support, quality care and our gratitude for their significant contributions & sacrifice to our country in the past century.

  67. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this decision. Is it something like: “Well, they can do it so far with little funding, let’s see whether they can do an even better job with less!” ???
    It is very CRUEL that one of the most vulnerable members of our society is going to be in an even worse situation because Mr Butler is so ignorant of the situation in the age care sector.

  68. What a joke! You have lost my vote…shame on you Minister Butler. I have a grandmather who is yet to go to Aged Care but you don’t care about that she will just be a number to you. I am sure your own parents/grandparents will be OK. Get a grip of your priorities and don’t make our families suffer.

  69. Shame on you Julia Gillard and Mark Butler.
    This is a total betrayal of aged care.
    You will be hearing from my elderly parents and all their friends, who despite their declining years, are savvy enough to know your ‘aged care reform’ is a fairytale. You will be hearing from them and it won’t be pleasant.
    You don’t deserve to govern one minute longer.

  70. Do the politicians actually understand the words care, compassion, empathy, quality of life – apparently not. I have worked in aged care for nearly 25 years and have seen many changes, however this change must be the worst on record. How the Gillard government and Minister Mark Butler expect Aged Care Providers to continue to be able to provide services is beyond my understanding. It is not our residents that stuffed up the budget why should they have to suffer?

  71. It has been a fact for many years that the Labor Party does not consider the aged among its constituents. Why support those who are less inclined to vote for your party. Stephen Kobelke comments were excellent – keep the pressure on Stephen.

  72. At what point will Minister Butler and the Gillard Government come clean and admit that the proposed cuts are a disgrace, are dishonest and will hurt those vulnerable elderly Australian’s who have invested so much in helping to build this great nation? For far too long the Aged care sector has done it tough with limited funding and by the good grace of having a dedicated and caring workforce, have managed to care for Australia’s most valued asset – it’s older people. With the cuts proposed this is about to change. This decision puts the Aged Care sector in crisis and threatens the care of older Australian’s living in residential aged care facilities.…. shame on you Minister Butler and the Gillard Government! One can only hope that unless this decision is repealed, that the change in Government at the next Federal election will do the right thing and correct this travesty.

  73. How could the aged “Live Longer” & “Live Better”? The industry has patiently waited for the PC reforms. & what do we get? Loss of income. Before this funding cuts aged care has always struggled to make ends meets & still provide quality care to the aged & vulnerable. How can they continue to do so? This is outrageous. You cannot continue to fool the Australian public with your spin and smoke & mirrors. You will be punished at the next election.

  74. I wonder if our politicians have seen their own relatives in aged care recently? If so, they would be aware that the wide range and intense services offered – and needed by each person in residential care – cost every bit and more of the funding already available.
    There does not seem to be ANY fat in the system as it is – so to reduce that funding can only imply a cut in services. Perhaps our leaders would like to show us what they think their family members could do without to fit within the funding.
    And we thought the response to the Productivity Commission report was designed to improve services!

  75. Shame on you Julia Gillard and Mark Butler, taking money from an industry that so desperately needs more funding really is a joke. $52 a day is an embarrassment you really can’t be serious!!

  76. I do not work in the aged care industry, but as an older Australian, I know it is a future coming towards me. Like all of us in this largest growing demographic, we need to know that we have our government’s support in ensuring the security of our future. This cut in funding and the way funds are allocated is a huge backward step at a time when government should be increasing not reducing its support. We deserve better Prime Minister!

  77. Memo to Mark Butler and Julia Gillard:
    You and your spin doctors have more spin than a washing machine!! Even a washing machine stops spinning after a while. It is getting tiring. I know who not to vote for at the next election.

  78. Mr Butler is, as ALL politicians, only interested in his bottom line and shaving money off his budget. Not how he gets there or who suffers in the mean time. Disgusting!

  79. I am amazed at what is happening! How dare politicians look their communities in the face when they get again a pay rise.Can they not refuse ? and tell us we will set the example and instead provide more assistance to its elderly people.
    I wonder what the U.C.CEO thinks about a party which can do this to its elderly people?

  80. I have worked in aged care for over twenty years. I also have an 84 year old mother, very like Ray’s “Enid” who has lived in a nursing home for the past seven years.
    My mum has advanced dementia and as such cannot follow the convolutions of policy that are now threatening her quality of life. She is dependent on others to follow that as much as she is dependent on people to ensure her good health and her ability to watch “the bold and the Beautiful” every afternoon.
    There seems to be a cynical disregard for the wellbeing of those frail voiceless people who are no longer able to exercise the power of the vote.
    We are, at this point in time, providing care to a generation of Australians who saw our country through a Depression and a World War, a generation who are responsible for the prosperity we experince now.
    I thought for a moment there that we were going to get at least some of the well thought through, innovative approaches to caring for our Elders that we all want, but it seems now our hopes are dashed.
    I have finally reached the point where I have to consider if I can ethically continue to back a government who shows such disrespect to a generation that has given so much. The alternative to this government does not seem too promising either but at this point I must say my vote will go to whoever finally takes the needs of our frail and elderly seriously, wherever they may live.

  81. No one would think we live in the best country in the world when these types of policy and dollar changes affect one of the three most vulnerable sectors of our population. While wishing and hoping the Opposition would do better their silence has been deafening!
    Shame to you all but the saddest part of that comment is none of them feel any shame! Where to from here? That is the million dollar question!

  82. There is no place for Butlers in aged care – this one is no exception. Go make your Mark somewhere else and put things back how you found them before you leave. We WIll remember you.

  83. Approved Provider:
    Gillard Government- Minister Butler
    Aged Care Standard 1
    Expected Outcome: 1.2,2.1,3.1,4.1
    “The organisation actively pursues continuous improvements”
    Finding: Non compliant
    the approved provider has failed to act on suggestion for improvment from the Productivy Commission and in doing so has undermined the capacity of the industry to achieve a quality care outcome for aged Australian citizens

  84. As a Baby Boomer working in the Not For Profit Sector. I have a best friend in his early 60s, recently diagnosed with Alzheimers. This decision is scary given that he and his family are already finding the availability of good care places so limited. These decisions will certainly make current providers and potential providers think again about seeking further packages, given that they will be unable to fund appropriate care.

  85. Quote from a friend – “Both state and federal governments are a joke.. We have an embarrassing chair sniffer as a state treasurer here in WA. A federal government that can’t get the boat people saga sorted. That’s just for starters. No law and order in this country. And get this – they appoint a new police minister, one who has losses her license before in the past and who has admitted to smoking marijuana. What an unprofessional lot”

    Guess what matey!!! The Pollies just decided to give themselves a PAY RISE!!!!! How convenient aye, obviously those unprofessional clowns DO NOT CARE!!! Parliament is like a playground at the moment, play hard and pocketing monies from those people who need it most.

    I hope Mr Butler aging well and pray hard to god that he won’t get sick or ill anytime soon. Because there will be no fresh, clean pad for him; eating bake bean on …. Opps sorry bread is too expensive; falling left, right and centre because the chance of seeing a Physio in an aged care facility is like waiting to meet a unicorn …..

    I really wonder what those clowns are thinking at the moment…

    NOT MUCH (I can assure you)

  86. This is disgusting! How is it that you can pull vital funds from an area which so desperately needs the most funding??….. How is it that you can each receive $44000.00 a year in a pay rise and let our elderly suffer from lack of care?!?!?!

    As an employee for a not-for-profit organization; I know the struggles our current staff face on a daily basis with the amount of ACFI funding being provided to service ALL our residents needs. I also know how difficult it is to find the right staff to also service these same needs. This is a disgrace to all the elderly and those facing care. To think I pay high taxes to you, the government, and then be told that you’re pulling $500 million from aged care is beyond the point of laughable!… Do we, the taxpayers, not have a say in how we’d like our hard earned money to be distributed? I guess not!

    It’s time you all grew a back-bone and live in the real world. My yearly wage is almost as much as you each have been given in pay rises.

    Maybe one of you will see the real problem here and sacrifice your Payrise to help put back into the community?….

    Yeah I didn’t think you would! …… You’re a joke, the LOT of you.

    Another vote lost here too.

    Hope by the time you get to the point of requiring care, your children will look after you cos you’d be the LAST person any organization would take as their resident! That’s right Julia, you don’t have children. Sux to be you then huh!!!

  87. If we send a resident to hospital, where they are generally treated as a major problem, do not get fed because nurses are too busy looking after younger acute patients, do not get their personal care needs attended too because they are too old and too slow, and the general concensus is that they are taking up a hospital bed that someone else could use, the resident is generally in the shortest time possible, generally comes back with minimal treatment and basically no information, and yet the aged care home, who is trying to do the best for the resident, gets penalised. Whereas if a resident has a life threatening event that can be treated, and we do not send them, then the aged care home is plastered all over the newspapers as not caring for residents.
    WHO IS NOT CARING FOR THESE ELDERLY PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR ALL FOR THIS COUNTRY. SHAME ON YOU MR BUTLER.

  88. Well now we know exactly how much the Gillard Government values our elderly-not at all. It’s a disgrace.

  89. I work as an AIN…right down at the grass roots and I can see 1st hand how hard it is already to provide the proper care our older Australians need. After the insult that Julia Gillard has offered up…giving with ine hand taking with the other…it scares me to think of what aged care will be like if I eventually need it. I definately won’t hang around…IWILL BE OFF TO MEXICO…find myself a little relief from the debarcle our government calls aged CARE…perhaps we should rename it the aged careLESS industry…honestly Julia…how do you sleep nights?

  90. SHORT TERM GAIN, LONG TERM PAIN!

    I quote from the CDHA website “The Government recognises the need for fundamental reform of the aged care system in order to ensure that it continues to provide high quality care and can respond to future challenges.”

    So, let’s look at the FACTS of the Government’s Living Longer Living Better Reform Package:-

    1. The Government proclaims $3.7B of funding for the aged care industry over five years but in reality only $577M is new funding
    2. The Government claws back $1.6B of ACFI funding
    3. The Government fails to provide COPO in 2012/13
    4. The Government fails to provide adequate funding to ensure aged care workers receive a ‘fair pay’ instead they redistribute claw back funds with strings attached
    5. The Government creates a Workforce Compact that ‘forces the hand’ of providers to sign up with them and the Unions
    6. The Government fails to recognise the ‘real cost’ of delivering quality services to older Australians
    7. The Government fails to provide adequate and sustainable funding streams for capital development
    8. The Government fails to ‘listen’ to those whom it entrusts to deliver aged care services to the aged – its Approved Providers
    9. The Government ignores the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Caring for Older Australians Inquiry instead it ‘cherry picks’
    10. The Government establishes increased levels of bureaucracy and red tape at signficant cost to every tax payer in our country
    11. The Government fails to develop appropriate policy and funding frameworks to prepare for a high quality, vibrant and sustainable aged care industry
    12. The Government fails to ‘care’ and ‘respect’ our elders

    Ms Gillard and Mr Butler, I don’t need to discredit you publicly as the FACTS speak for themselves; as do the voters of this country.

    The Government may achieve short term gains if you continue down this path but if you fail to put a HOLT to the Living Longer Living Better Reforms you will ultimately pay the price……YOUR PUBLIC HOSPITALS WILL BE FULL !!!

  91. I worked in the acute sector where the cost per bed day is more than 10 times what the Federal Govt pays for someone in residential aged care…. and that was BEFORE these latest cuts! And in aged care, you aren’t dealing with a single “drg” or health condition, but with much more complex care needs involving a number of challenging conditions and behaviours, as well as trying to provide a decent quality of life!
    Shame on you Butler and Gillard. My parents deserve better and I’ll be doing my damnedest to let everyone know how deceitful your Government is.

  92. The actions of this government under the various health ministers have confirmed time and time again that they have chosen to ignore all the facts about what is required to provide the most basic of care for elderly Australians. I believe all the care providers should do is to send all their residents to the hospitals to let the government know just how much more it is to provide care in hospitals than in nursing homes. Then again, the government already knows this. So why are they doing this?
    They are here to screw the older Australians!! Along the way, they also screw all the people who work within and outside the retirement & aged care industry. This government is screw all of us who has old people in our lives, as ultimately, we are made to pay. Unfortunately the old people have to suffer, we suffer.
    Screw this government!!

  93. I feel I have seen over the years I have been a chaplain the actual time staff have with residents decrease. If this sees it decrease further then those pundits who say there are more important matters than getting the budget in surplus by this time table will be right. With the gov’t hitting not the strong but the vunerable it does not seem the sort of move that would make labour leaders of the past rest easily – let alone the Australian voters!!

  94. I have been in Australia for 10 years now and am a citizen of this blessed nation. I have been working in Aged care industry for 9 years out of the 10 that I have been here. In this time I have learnt that the standard of living of any country is expressed through the way in which a nation cares for its elderly and other skilled (handicapped) population. Taking away the funding from Aged Care to increase the MP salaries is now reflecting where this goverment is headed and their values. Most certainly they are not congruent with Australian values and what the people of Australia stand for.

  95. I wonder how many magicians will be working in ACFA because if Mark’s tricks are the benchmark (pardon the pun) then anything is possible in the Fair Aged Care arena of Australia as our demise is carefully crafted.

  96. As a Chaplain working Baptistcare’s Community Aged Care services, I see daily the growing need for allocating more (not less) funding to this vital demographic of our community. I have been doing this role for nearly 3 years and I am continually horrified to see how many of our older Australians don’t even have enough money to use electicity or gas to keep warm. Many of them go to bed when the sun goes down, just to fend off the cold temperatures. During the summer most don’t have the luxary of airconditioning, many won’t even use a ceiling fan to keep cool. These are simple things, but they demonstrate the dire financial position of a sector that needs better consideration from a funding situation.

  97. I am sickened by the news that aged care funding will be ignored and slashed yet again. Our elderly have basic human rights to receive quality care and medical treatment, they are one group of vulnerable people in our society who are unable to speak for themselves or make their views heard by the political morons in Canberra. It’s about time we made the point for them and got the politicians to sit up and listen. This is, after all, a democracy – right?????????????

  98. I think that this is truly a travisty and an almost “comedy of errors” which now only compounds the negative view on Aged Care Work. Residents will ultimately bear the brunt as a result. Not only will staff cuts be inevitable in some organisations just to keep doors open as service providers,the overall appeal to prospective Aged Care workers is snuffed out and leaves an even heavier work load for those staff left to carry the torch. And that is supposing they stay in Aged Care for much longer. Since moving to Australia in 2006 I have been working in Aged Care and have always admired this great country for its laws and governance over the Aged and the very young. However, I cannot understand how the same government of this great nation can readily accept substantial pay rises amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively, while the forerunners of this country, now Elderly, have to deal with pay cuts!!! Does not make any sense and really disappointing. This alone cannot be justified no matter how they try to pitch and qualify this new funding model. Unbelievable and frustrating. As we all know, the reality is that the longer people stay at home before coming into residential Aged Care, their care needs are more complex and attract more associated costs. Will government allow standards of care to drop or will they actually listen to experts in the industry, for the benefit of the growing Aged population??!!

  99. I have worked in an Aged Care since coming to live in Australia and it has always amazed me what dedication the staff have. You are clearly aware of this yourself and you are using the good nature of these people to carry through your despicable plan. They do an incredible job with the little funding they get and now you propose to cut (and make no mistake that’s what you are doing) the meagre amount they get. Shame on you for making cuts in something you know will not effect you personally, self first last and always with you and your party. You have lost my vote, which is only one of very many.

  100. As a provider of training and development services to the aged care industry in WA I am disgusted at the lack of consultation with experienced CEOs who are juggling to offer positive work experiences for their staff in a very tight labour market. Many of the care staff are mature aged people themselves and already give additional hours of volunteer work to offer the elderly a positive experience in their last years of life because their work days are full. They work in the industry to give back and many lament that their work is unrecognised through the wages they receive. This change to the ACFI funding will do nothing to encourage them to intice younger people into the industry then who will do the “extra” things that the “babyboomer” care staff presently do,it remains to be seen if this is the final straw for them to decide “enough is enough ” and leave.

  101. Hang your head in shame! Working as a manager for over 20+ year this is the first time i feel powerless in my effort to continually improve service provision for our ageing residents. Our elderly are they being admitted to hostels and nursing homes in a more frail condition both physically and mentally .Are we are now being penalised for improving residents well being (ACFI)?.We pride ourselves on improving or maintaining residents well being where is the motivation for rehabilitation and person centered care .I am fortunate working with a very focussed driven service provider that will ensure we continue provide optimum service delivery and improve the well being of our residents . Unbelievable that our ageing populations future looks very dim.

  102. This Federal Labor government has made a mess of almost everything it has touched since coming to office, so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve made a mess of aged care funding as well.
    But what is surprising is that they’ve gone against what Labor supposedly stands for, caring for the most vulnerable in society. I look forward to providers shouting this from the rooftops so that the general community is aware of what’s happening in aged care and can act accordingly.

  103. Having had recent and very close experience of the aged care sector (mother and mother-in-law) I am appalled to read about cuts to funding. Do these politicians ever visit nursing homes and hostels at meal times? Have they ever seen first hand the distress of a loved one left sitting on the toilet for too long because of staff shortages? Do they know what it is like to learn that your mother rang her “emergency” buzzer on and off for an hour before anyone came (there were 6 deaths that night and an already stretched staffing situation was over-stretched)? It is so distressing as adult children to witness these situations (there were countless others) and to realize that the distress caused is shared by everyone – staff included – when our taxpayers’ money is not being fairly distributed to improve – continuously – the daily care of those least able to protest. This is our future – all too soon it won’t be our parents but ourselves in these situations. We need leaders to take a lead on this – even if it is something that is not politically ‘hot’. Let’s make it uncomfortably hot!

  104. What does it say about our country’s values when people are payed more to do night fill than they are paid to be the wonderful carers of our vulnerable elderly? $52 per resident per day does not pay for the carers, let alone the therapy that helps residents maintain a quality of life. Even for residential care, a bit of money now will save a lot more money in the future. If staff can afford to live on their wages, then they will stay longer term and provide a better continuity of care, which is particularly important in dementia. Funding more and better trained staff will reduce the reliance on medication and improve the functioing of the residents. Reducing the funding means wasting money and creating environments in which none of us would want to live. As both an aged care chaplain and a health professional, I am horrified that funding is being reduced even further. Am I being cynical thinking that this is one of those sectors that will never be properly funded as it just doesn’t generate the votes? Let’s set about changing that!

  105. The Gillard government has promised to balance the budget for no economic purpose but to win votes by being able to say “I told you so” to the Liberal party. How are they going to do it? Find the weaker targets and squeeze. I’m sick of our industry being a political whipping boy. The aged care industry is gaining political clout but much more needs to be done before the people of our country vote for the political party providing dignity and love for the frail (like the aged care sector). One day soon such disrespect will see governments tumble; perhaps sooner than later.

  106. Just wondering where these figures are coming from? I have done the maths and when I review my current residents to see who could be affected based on the Enid example, I can’t seem to find any scenarios were my funding would be slashed by 50%. All my high care residents (like Enid would be) would remain with the same high care ACFI funding, if the resident has been assessed as High in ADLs…it remains as a High under the new scoring so … am I missing something???

  107. You wouldn’t expect anything lees from the worst government in Australian history. They sold out to buy votes and don’t care about the working class anymore. Why would the politicians give a damn about aged care as they wont have these problems when they retire on their full pensions and political benefits. Besides not having a conscience allows them to look themselves in the eye and sleep so much better at night.

  108. Yes aged care admin you sure are missing something if you only looked at high ADL changes. I hope that you can find someone to assist you examine the whole picture before you realise that the complex care needs drop is way more significant in terms of $ per day lost per resident. good luck and don’t delay cos you could be in for a nasty shock when you find what you missed!

  109. Australia is a Welfare State and for many years the health care system, which includes aged care, together with education and social security and welfare constituted more than 55% of the total Government expenditure (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006).
    Therefore the ‘Living Longer, Living Better’ plan in the way of a $3.7 billion package of aged care reforms was announced by the Gillard Government on 20 April 2012, to give older Australians ‘more choice, easier access and better care’ in their later years. The aged care industry initially cherished this plan; however after an in-depth analysis there grew great concern whether the Australian Government could deliver these reforms in a fair, equal and envy-free way.
    Now, not even three months after the aged care reform were announced, we know how well Australia looks after the welfare of its elders and what a great range of choice, easier access and better care they can expect.
    As the Corporate Services Manager for a provider of Home Care services for elderly people of a Culturally and Linguistic Diversity, I have noticed that the fear of going into residential care is even greater for our service users than before. On top of having to leave the trusted family home they are now faced with going into a facility where they might very well not receive the care and services they need.

  110. To “Aged Care Admin”, not sure where you got the idea of a 50% reduction as none of us would be in business at all if that was the case. Just recalulate your last year’s ACFI income figures and try deducting 6% which seems to be an average. If that doesn’t cause a headache for your ACF’s to operate from and keep your head above water, then you had better share your secret. Meanwhile the clawing back of $500 M in ACFI funds with no COPO is causing some major stress across the industry as you can see from the expressed outrage. With pay increases locked in with EBAs @ 3.5% pa or thereabouts it is inevitable that there will need to be staff reductions, meaning heavier workloads for those remaining and then the greater risk of injury to both resident and employee. Quality care requires specific staffing ratios per residents. What the Minister doesn’t realise is we cannot provide the same quality of care with less staff and when staff wages make up 75% of a facility’s income, there’s no other options. As a former Union Leader, Mr Butler should know better.

  111. This is a digraceful way to support our older citizens. It is critical that organisations have the financial resources to adequately care for the residents.

  112. I think you might have missed something Aged Care Admin. The biggest risk areas are those areas related to Complex Health Care and to a lesser extent those people who just have enough points to be in a particular category within ADL. Infact someone like Enid could be affected by both changes to the ADL and CHC claims. A person these days can be receiving high levels of care with MLM and be effected by the changed scores to render their funding to be LLL. It’s conceivable that a stand alone facility would be untouched by the ADL change. Indeed some of our own facilities are untouched by the ADL change but all are affected by CHC and when we say affected…it is big this year coming but it is in the future years where the damage will really be felt. I suggest you carefully analyse every one of your residents because you will get a very upleasant shock if you don’t get some good modelling done.

  113. Ms Gillard & Mr. Butler you have been ill advised and the “YES MINISTER” satire remains alive and well. This “slight of hand”attempt of depriving the aged care industry is yet another bungled and ill advised cynically transparent attempt to dupe the baby boomers, THEIR PARENTS and the general public of Australia.
    We see right through it. What little trust in our politicians and the system that supports them has yet again been severely eroded. The greatest winner in all of this is the Australian Voter Apathy Party.. whose motto is ” we the voters of Australia have little or no trust, belief, or respect left for our politicians as they continue to serve their own inflated egos and self interest by their arrogant behaviour”. Their hypocrisy and actions speak so much louder than their words.
    We refuse to accept your continuous simplistic attempts to insult our intelligence and we shall respond to all of this banal behaviour at the ballot box.

  114. Many elderly people requiring care are the very citizens who fought for our country and made it what it is today and THIS is how we repay them? When they need our support and care we rip the rug out from under them? How embarrassing!! The Prime Minister and her Government have made a disgraceful mistake and they need to FIX it!

  115. Has anyone noticed on their payment statements this week that the entire oxygen supplements paid for 2011/2012 have been reversed ? Is this yet another redistribution or reverse increase ??!! Do we take the new message to be ” now try living longer and better without your oxygen”. Please tell me I have this wrong.

  116. I am shocked to read of the funding cuts to aged care – shame on the Gillard Government – shame!
    Both my partner and my dear old mother have recently died in nursing homes and the care they were both given at a time when funding was already lean was extraordinary.
    I can’t imagine where funding cuts could be made – I know aged care staff will try and continue to offer a first rate service – at the expense of their own health and wellbeing.
    I am a Labor voter – or at least I have been. It’s news like this that make me wonder how I’ll vote at the next Federal Election.
    It’s not too late to change your mind Mr Butler – be smart, be compassionate. Do it!

  117. It astounds me that we spend $5.2B in overseas aid a year but cannot find the $500M cut from our own aged care budget. The smokes and mirrors put forward by this government does not fool intelligent voters and the current batch of ministers will find this out at the next election. Unfortunately without a major outcry against discrimination against our aged it is unlikely the new mob will do any better. I like many others in our country have first hand experience of the constraints imposed on aged care by lack of funding and its time all of us made politicians of all persuasion acknowledge the need to do something about it.Charity begins at home but this is not charity. It is pay back for a lifetime contribution to the growth of our nation and must be made.

  118. All reform is about improvement and advancement. However, funding is one critical factor among many.
    Reflection: change in direction. 2011 ACSA National Conference: Mr Butler in his speech said: “ensuring all frail older Australians have timely access to appropriate care an support services… through a safe and secure aged care system.” So, 2012 the Government has give and undertaking the Federal Budget will be the aged care Budget, to deliver real choice and better access for older Australian…
    Question is: “How our Ministers get their idea across the line?
    Through the Looking Glass in Wonderland it is a great huge game of chess. With their decision they labelled older “Less with care”.
    In a perfect world, the government would recognize there is problem and work together with organizations to build age specific accommodation for older. It is sad that funding is complexities of delivering and funding in aged car.

  119. As a daughter with aging parents this scares me to think how I will support them as the government clearly won’t! Let’s see how Gillard and Butler would go living with sub-par aged care due to their own decisions. Reverse this decision and support the industry, carers and our elders!

  120. Instead of giving billions of dollars away in assistance to other countries, how about supporting the people in Australia that need it most.The people that worked in this country, paid taxes and fought for our so called freedom.

    Labour has lost my vote.

  121. It’s not just the minister that got this wrong, but moreso his advisers and those faceless academic technocrats from the Department of Health & Ageing who just know so much about delivering aged care, but who have never worked in the industry at either the bedside or managing a service. Shame on them all

  122. This just saddens me. It means more unpaid hours by already overworked people who give a damn and not to let our precious elders be lost to suffering. My vote is also gone Mark Butler. God help you when you and your party need care.

  123. There is a very easy way for Minister Butler to gain some credibility in this debate. Do what many CEO’s have done and go and work at an RACF and see what actually happens. The precedent has been set – we have seen many reality TV shows where the boss works undercover for weeks to see what actually goes on!! He could choose whichever facility he likes as I am sure any provider would be happy to assist.So that he gets a true picture of what the work entials he sould work a quick shift like so many of our staff i.e. a 3pm-11pm followed by a 7am-3pm the next day. He would be able to assist with documentation for the ACFI as I am sure he has good observation skills and the ability to describe what is required. This could be arranged quickly as I am sure he has a current National police check. After doing this work experienince he could then speak with REAL authority about caring for the aged in an RACF – it’s so different being a staff member than being a relative.

  124. It’s amazing that Mr Butler, the Magician, can believe that he knows or understands anything about caring for the aged. This is a total outrage and will make life so much more stressful for the administrators, the carers, the residents, the families and the aged care community in general. What audacity you have to think that this is acceptable in any way. The aged care sector was under enough stress with too little funding before, now how do you think it will survive? Oh, I know, targeting the frail and powerless and dumping on the already low-paid care staff who will carry on regardless! You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr Butler. Time to rethink this decision before you lose thousands of votes from the aged care sector who KNOW this decision is CONTEMPTABLE.

  125. Is Mr Butler really so ignorant of the needs of aged care or is he just another Gillard puppet? Either way this is a shameful lack of respect for the mothers and fathers of this country and the huge stress it is bringing on their families. Is this not the true measure of the man and woman steering this decision? Deplorable!

  126. The only conclusion that can be drawn by this action is that the Gillard Govt. has a solution for the Aged, and that is if they restrict funding and prevent proper care being given to the elderly then they will not survive as long and thus reduce the number dependant on our care institutions (by reducing numbers); or, place an even higher burden on the tax payers to provide directly for their parents and grandparents (forcing them to stay at home) even though many are battling to provide for themselves. This Govt. obviously has no respect for the elderly as it was reported prior to Gillard deceiving the public when she took office, she would not support the move to increase pensions, but she will quite happily place further impost on not only the elderly (pensioners) but also on those organisations whose prime objective is to prolong life and provide the highest quality of life possible for those who made this country prosperous. This govt. is spending millions a year building and supporting detention centres and those who come to this country under hardship conditions. Would it not be more prudent to support those who have help make this country what it is with equal or higher priority? Obviously Wayne Swan’s bottom line has precedence over the wellbeing of those who came before us.

  127. I started in Home and Communities in April of this year and I can see a real need for added funding to the ACFI not total annihilation of this desperately needed fund.
    Is it not a form of abuse and neglect for an aged person to not be able to access critically needed help and assistance because of a lack of financial aid to help reduce these costs?
    Our elderly are really undervalued in our Society.
    They are our National Treasures, our jewels and our holders of cultural values.
    Why aren’t our Elderly being asked, “What it is that you would like or need?”
    Why are our elderly not being heard by our Govt?
    Becoming older is not a choice, it’s a fact of life so why are people being persecuted for ageing instead of being supported? What can I expect when I age? Perhaps euthanasia will be in vogue and even promoted by our Govt as the “New Alternative” to being a percieved financial drain on the tax payers money? Please Australia, don’t sit idly by as the Govt continues to FINANCIALLY ABUSE our Elderly. Let us all tell the Govt exactly what we think and that is, “ALL of our ELDERLY” deserve to be cared for, appreciated, respected and allowed to live their twillight years with the love, dignity and compassion that they deserve.

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