Queensland expresses ACAR pain

The state industry body has warned that there will be a residential bed shortfall by 2011.

Like its Western Australian counterparts last week, Aged Care Queensland (ACQ) says the state is heading towards a serious shortfall of residential aged care places.

The warning comes after Queensland experienced an under-subscription of 813 residential places in the recent aged care approvals round.

And ACQ said several hundred allocated bed licences had been handed back in recent months, compounding the problem.

“While the government does not release these figures, we know of at least 500 licences that have been handed back this year alone,” said CEO, Anton Kardash.

“We clearly have a fundamental problem, where aged care providers simply cannot afford to build new beds with the funding they are offered by the government.”

The association predicts that the shortage of beds will begin to be felt in just two years’ time.

Mr Kardash said government had topped up the residential care shortfall in Queensland by allocating two times more community care places than it had planned.

Although only 610 community places were allocated when the round was announced, almost 1,400 community licenses were handed out.

Mr Kardash welcomed the extra community places, saying there was growing demand for aged care services in clients’ own homes.

But he described the government’s final actions as a “manipulation of the numbers” designed to mask the poor residential care figures.

“Community care places receive much lower levels of government funding,” he said.

“Switching places to community care at the last minute might make the numbers look good, but it’s poor planning and represents a significant reduction in the government’s financial support for aged care.”

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