Now that the report is finally in, that opportunity is here.
AAA established a virtual panel of aged care spokespeople to tell us, specifically, what the opportunities presented by the report are and how they should be achieved.
An overwhelming majority of the respondents insisted that the federal government take urgent action on the advice that they themselves requested from their chief economic advisory body.
Their comments are below.
Urgency to take on opportunities
“The PC process is over.
It is now the Government’s responsibility to act to fix aged care.
Aged care can’t wait.
The reform is crucial and must address the right number of staff and mix of skills, comparable wages for nurses and assistants in nursing, funding tied to wages and staffing levels and a focus on quality care.”
Federal Secretary of Australian Nursing Federation, Lee Thomas
“The final report’s recommendations present numerous opportunities for all stakeholders in aged care. From the point of view of consumers there are opportunities to have access to a greater number, and a larger range, of services which are tailored to their needs, and having control over their choice of services. Also having a streamlined assessment process with access to readily available information and referral will be of real benefit to consumers.
“From the point of view of the provider there will be opportunities to develop a sustainable aged care industry which meets the needs of older people and their carers. Also there will be opportunities to develop new and flexible services, either independently or in partnerships, to target particular segments of the market or special needs groups, and to develop innovative approaches to assisting older people to have a positive and fulfilling life experience.
“Opportunities will exist for the development of new models of care based on the data and evidence which will be made available by the Australian Aged Care Commission. These new models of care can be developed to meet the emerging needs of the new generation of older people.
“The seizing of these opportunities is crucial to the whole reform process and to the successful implementation of the recommendations of the final report.”
CEO of Benetas, Sandra Hills
“The supply issues outlined represent an opportunity lost in removing impediments to an industry that provides accommodation and support to as many older Australians as are in aged care facilities. It is critical that governments recognize the role of the retirement village industry in the future care and accommodation options for senior Australians and address the issues – such as the GST – that are impeding supply.”
CEO of Retirement Villages Association, Andrew Giles
“The cornerstone is to implement reform in a planned and incremental way. Any change process must occur in ‘bite sized chunks’ where we remember the most basic reality. Consumers can only obtain choice and access if we have a sustainable industry. The Federal Government does not actually provide services or build beds.”
CEO of Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA), Rod Young
“Aged care providers can play a much greater role in promoting health and preventing older people entering hospital. The Commission’s recommendations envisage aged care services expanding their role to support older Australians through a broader range of services in many settings.
“It is critical reform happens now as by 2050, about 3.6 million Australians will be accessing aged care. The vast majority, three million people, will receive care and support in their own community rather than in a nursing home.”
Chair of the UnitingCare Australia Aged Care Network and Executive Director of Blue Care, Robyn Batten
“I think the door will open wider for organisations like us that are consumer driven. This is a good thing for seniors as competition will provide better options in the market place.
A more flexible approach by government that allows private groups to have a more level playing field to negotiate can only make things better for the consumer and the private, non-traditional model groups. I feel the existing aged care system is far too focussed on how to make money out of care rather than how to take care of the client!
“Please be very clear, this is a generalisation and does not apply to all but it does apply.”
Tall Trees director, Phil Usher
“The challenge is for the sector to work with the Government in ensuring that the momentum for reform continues. There was very positive media response to the release of the final PC report. The Minister has said that he will be working with the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) which includes consumers, providers, unions and professionals. He has established an Expert Ageing Reference Group which includes key members of NACA, including ACSA, COTA, ACAA, providers and unions. An Inter-Departmental Taskforce under the direction of the Department of PM&C has been established. There is much work to be done.”
CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia, Patrick McClure AO
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to effect a complete reform of the aged care system commencing in the 2012 Federal Budget. The PC final report is closely aligned with the vision for the future of aged support and care spelt out by the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) which has strong and united support from consumer, provider, union and professional bodies. The Gillard government has committed itself to initiating major aged care reform in this term of office and to its serious consideration in the framing of the 2012 Budget. We need to seek in 2012 commitment to a five to seven year strategy for the complete reform of the system.
“Media and public response to date to the final report has been very considered, professional and in general positive. Consultative processes already established create the conditions for a government / sector partnership in designing the new system.
“In other words, to be colloquial, the ducks are all lined up and we are unlikely to get another chance anywhere soon, so go for it!”
CEO of COTA, Ian Yates
“I believe the opportunities now lay in helping foster new provider solutions that are not pre-defined, as are many of the current provider solutions. Not just in their use of technology, although that is an area of interest for me, but in a more general way. It will be interesting to see what type of new services become available.”
Australian general manger of Care Innovations, Dr George Margelis
“The cornerstone is to finalise the reform blueprint and implement it in a planned and incremental way. Any change process must occur in bite sized chunks. Consumers will have choice and access only if we have a sustainable industry.”
Aged & Community Care Victoria’s CEO, Gerard Mansour
“There are real opportunities to now achieve aged care reform that provides people with choice and flexibility to really meet their needs. Whilst we don’t expect the government to adopt every aspect of the Productivity Commission report without question, their commitment to aged care reform in this term of office is encouraging. There is a real opportunity for the government to commit to real reform beginning in the 2012 Budget. The reforms are crucial to creating a system that all Australians have equitable access to palliative care, where they are guaranteed to die free from preventable pain, with their symptoms well managed, and in the place of their choosing.”
Palliative Care Australia CEO, Dr Yvonne Luxford
“The report is an outstanding source of market material and it enables those with a passion for service and a genuine culture for innovation so many possibilities. The data contained within the report is to be genuinely appreciated. I can see opportunities for new product and service streams and with the continued platform of genuine collaboration (providers, consumers and unions) a positive change in the governance and leadership of the entire industry. The argument for change is persuasive and I congratulate the PC in lining it up- now it’s time for political will.”
CEO of SummitCare, Cynthia Payne
“The speed and efficiency in which we implement these reforms will be critical to its success. However, in saying that, the current Federal government has no track record in back office administration and this is one major area of our society that does not have the luxury of recovering from poor policy implementation.”
Third Age Living@Springwood’s managing director, Chiou see Anderson
“We’ve got a once in a generation opportunity. We either implement the entirety of the Commission’s recommendations now, or we see people miss out on care in the future. We create safe and regulated ways in which those who have the financial means to be able to contribute to the cost of their care, or we hike up taxes for all working aged Australians. The choices are stark, and the Commission has set out a path that both Government and Opposition should embrace.”
CEO of CHA, Martin Laverty
“The opportunities are to build a system that shifts the emphasis away from what providers feel constrained to offer by funding guidelines and regulations, and to move to a system that provides what older people are clearly saying they want – choice, independence and control.
“The Australian Age Pensioners Savings Account Scheme is not only designed for residential care, but opens the way for older people to move to housing that is more suitable to their needs, where they can receive the care they want while staying connected to their community. This opens the way for innovation and expansion in retirement housing, especially in rental models that may be more popular than the traditional loan/licence and deferred management model.”
General Manager (ageing) for the Benevolent Society, Barbara Squires
“The opportunity for transformational reform of aged care happens perhaps once in a generation. We must ensure that comprehensive reforms are undertaken that lead to greater choice, quality, sustainability and have real results for consumers including people living with dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Glen Rees
“The report recognised that in order to sustain the aged care industry, workers must be provided fair and competitive wages. It also noted that the Federal Government must play a main role in setting care prices that will allow providers to pay fair wages…
“We are calling on employers to work with us to ensure that the Federal Government intervenes for wage justice for aged care workers. This report and talking is not enough.”
Assistant national secretary of United Voice, Sue Lines
“We look forward to dialogue with the government in relation to GLBTI aged care over the consultation period taking place over the next few months.”
National LGBTI Health Alliance general manager, Warren Talbot, and alliance member, Dr Jo Harrison
“Multiple opportunities presented in the report for providers to diversify their client base and expand their service offerings.”
Hynes Lawyers partner, Julie McStay