Wesley Mission has announced the closure of all its Sydney aged care homes due to sector pressures.
The not-for-profit provider’s facilities at Sylvania, Carlingford and Narrabeen are expected to close at the end of May. This follows the closure of its Wesley Tebbutt site in Dundas in north-west Sydney in 2022.
A review of operations and the impact of the Covid pandemic followed. The result of which has prompted Wesley Mission to close its three remaining residential aged care centres in Sydney.
In a statement, CEO and superintendent Reverend Stu Cameron noted the factors that drove the provider to make the difficult decision.
“The aged care sector is experiencing challenges to workforce and flow-on impacts from the national reforms to aged care. Wesley Mission supports these once-in-a-generation reforms, improving quality for all care users,” said Mr Cameron.
“It is, however, a challenging environment to be a smaller provider. With just three aged care locations, our offering in this area is small compared to the large and diverse range of community services we provide around New South Wales and across Australia.”
As part of the transition process, Wesley Mission has appointed MyCarePath to support its 200 Sydney residents and their families in finding a new home.
“At this stage, we anticipate closing our centres at the end of May 2023, and before then, we will be doing all we can to support residents in choosing a new home that meets their needs,” said Mr Cameron. “We will also be supporting affected staff to find a new role, or with assistance to find a role at a different provider.”
Regrettable but understandable
Provider peak body Aged & Community Care Provider’s Association said the decision by Wesley Mission to close its Sydney sites was “regrettable but understandable”.
“The aged care sector is facing enormous financial challenges and workforce shortages, at the same time that it is racing to implement the once-in-a-generation reforms emerging from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report two years ago.”
Pointing to the latest data released by the Department of Health and Aged Care that shows that 70 per cent of aged care providers are operating at a loss – losing an average of $28 dollars per resident per day – ACCPA said: “That is simply not sustainable.”
As for the ongoing reforms, while ACCPA supports the changes, it said the pace of reform needs to be manageable so as to ensure they do not “exacerbate an already challenging situation.”
ACCPA encourages any aged care providers under financial pressure to reach out to the department for a discussion about potential grants and the Structural Adjustment Program, aimed at supporting viability and service continuity.