Aged care features in health reform debate

Queensland says aged care needs a funding boost as it discusses the PM’s health plan.

Aged care has emerged as a key issue in the states’ response to the Rudd Government’s proposed National Health and Hospital Network.

Under the proposal, the Commonwealth would take a third of the state’s GST revenue and use it to boost its share of funding for public hospitals to 60 per cent.

The Queensland Government said it would like to see a significant increase in aged care funding before it agreed to the plan.

The state’s health minister, Paul Lucas said some Queensland aged care providers had been forced to surrender beds, while aged care patients remained in public hospitals.

But federal health minister, Nicola Roxon said the Commonwealth Government would not release further details about its health plan before it reached an agreement with the states.

“We want to understand from the states and territories whether they are up for this type of reform before we’re keen to make announcements about additional investments,” she told ABC Radio.

The CEO of Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA), Rod Young said it was crucial that aged care issues were included in health reform discussions.

“We certainly need to know how the two systems are going to interface to ensure that we have a comprehensive solution at the end of the day,” he said. “No reform will work adequately unless the aged care issues are addressed.”

“The volume of older patients in the future and their impact on the health budget…are such that unless you take aged care specific services into account, no system will be able to cope.”

But Mr Young added that any announcements about aged care this year would only look at the bigger picture.

He said the details for aged care reform would not be decided on until the Productivity Commission releases its report on the sector.

“That is probably not going to be released until at least this time next year because even though the report was announced eight months ago, the Productivity Commission is yet to  receive the terms of reference,” said Mr Young.

Tags: aged-care, commonwealth-government, funding, hospitals, nhhrc, queensland,

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