The voice of the aged care consumer has gotten even louder in the midst of a hung parliament, with representative groups now urging the independents to support the sector’s cause for structural reform.
The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) has called upon the independent politicians to wield their power in favour of older people, for the benefit of the aged care sector.
CPSA policy coordinator, Charmaine Crowe, said she wants the independents to keep pensioners at the forefront of their agenda when bargaining with Gillard and Abbott.
“Pensioners and low-income households want dental put under Medicare, no cuts to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), Pensions and Allowances that keep up with the cost of living,and reform of aged care to put the lives of people being cared for first,” said Ms Crowe.
“CPSA calls on the Independents Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, and Bob Katter to make these key issues when they carry out their negotiations with Labor and the Coalition.”
Ms Crowe said that negotiations should be carried out, while keeping in mind the key issues such as quality of care, structural reform and regional access.
“We don’t consider it good enough that because [aged care staff] are time poor and overworked that residents sit in front of the television all day. This is not the case in every facility, but it does take place.”
The CPSA wants the cost of aged care to be firstly benchmarked and for the government to follow the measure with appropriate funding. It has also called for the expansion of community care services and for a solution to current workforce issues.
Ms Crowe said that the future government must ensure that all aged care residents have “a good quality of life and a life worth living”.
“These are critical issues. We have a large number of people already receiving aged care.
“Those numbers are only going to increase as time goes on because of the ageing population so it is critical to ensure that people in aged care facilities are properly looked after.”