The peak body representing many of the largest for-profit residential aged care providers has announced it is disbanding because a new unified provider network is needed to achieve the reforms required.

The Aged Care Guild has flagged a new network of leading for-profit and not-for-profit providers free of “pre-existing constraints”.

Despite the suggestion of a unified network, the proposal does not involve the other aged care peak bodies, three of those peaks have told Australian Ageing Agenda.

The Aged Care Guild, which formed in 2013, has eight current members – Japara Healthcare, Bupa Aged Care, Regis Aged Care, Allity, McKenzie Aged Care, BlueCross, Medical and Aged Care Group and Aegis Ages Care – who collectively operate more than 340 residential aged care facilities across Australia.

The Aged Care Guild said in a statement that the sector’s landscape has changed significantly over the last few years and that long-term change required long-term commitment.  

“The Aged Care Guild has recognised that its current structure is not best suited to delivering an effective, reform-oriented agenda.

“The significant changes required will only be achieved through a broader effort led by forward thinking private, church and charitable providers working in unison.

“As such, directors have made the decision to disband the Guild to enable the formation of a new network of leading providers, without pre-existing constraints,” the peak body said.

The announcement has sparked questions about whether this could mean yet another aged care peak body or a merger of existing ones.

AAA asked fellow aged care peak bodies Leading Age Services Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia and Catholic Health Australia whether they were in discussions with the Guild or considering to form a new and unified peak body.

Sean Rooney

LASA, which represent NFP, FP and government operators, has always advocated for a single unified aged care peak body, said CEO Sean Rooney.

“We see this as the most appropriate and effective way to develop and grow our sector and to represent providers of age services on behalf of the older Australians they care for and support,” Mr Rooney told AAA.

LASA will continue to work diligently in serving and representing its members as the organisation grows further, he said.

“We fervently believe we are stronger together.”

ACSA, which represents NFP services, is focused on systemic issues in the sector affecting these providers and will work with all interested parties to resolve them, said CEO Patricia Sparrow.

Patricia Sparrow

“The matter of the royal commission and the big picture reforms we need to come out of it to make our sector sustainable are the first, second and third priority right now,” Ms Sparrow told AAA.

“We will work with all the peaks, providers and other groups interested in aged care to make it happen and won’t be distracted,” she said.

CHA has not been in talks with the Aged Care Guild to form a unified aged care peak body, a spokesperson for the peak told AAA.

AAA has sought further details from the Aged Care Guild about the new provider network and understands more information will be announced soon.

The Aged Care Guild has also confirmed that Nicholas Brown stepped down as acting CEO in December last year.

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