The Shadow Ageing Minister, Margaret May has accused the government of failing to ensure the viability of the aged care sector.

Mrs May said in a statement that Ageing, Minister Justine Elliot had lost the confidence of the industry.

“The minister must address why the industry is rejecting government funded beds,” she said.

“The shortfall of residential bed licences allocated in the last (ACAR) approvals round is a reminder of the capital crisis in aged care.

“Providers are handing back licences, beds are being left empty and the last two aged care allocation rounds were under-subscribed. The Rudd Government is putting our aged care system at risk.”

The comments came after 11 peak industry bodies and aged care providers sent a letter to the Prime Minister earlier this month calling for “urgent” reform.

“Older Australians are not well served by existing aged care legislation and funding; indeed they are suffering because of it,” the letter said.

“The current legislative framework was established 12 years ago in the early days of the previous government. That government’s framework no longer serves the needs of older Australians. The need for reform is now urgent.”

The letter highlighted the need for greater consumer choice, more support for service users with special needs and a sustainable funding base for the sector.

“These objectives are consistent with the recommendations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and its view that reform of aged care is an essential component of improving the overall health system,” the aged care coalition said.

The letter to Kevin Rudd was signed by Aged Care Association Australia; Aged and Community Services Australia, Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Living Care, the Lutheran Church of Australia, Montefiore, Presbyterian Church Australia, Aged Care Plus and UnitingCare Ageing.

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