Above: Robyn Batten in a one of Blue Care’s community workshops.
By Keryn Curtis and Stephen Easton
Blue Care executives hit the road last week, and are traveling around Queensland holding a series of workshops to ask people in different communities how they want future services to be.
Queensland’s largest aged and community care service provider is embracing the aged care sector’s new focus on consumer choice, asking for input and feedback from clients, families, staff, community members and other service providers to help it plan for the future.
Blue Care’s executive director, Robyn Batten, said the busy tour was about “creating the future” and that she was seeking honest feedback, including any criticisms.
“If you don’t plan for it, you won’t do it,” Ms Batten said.
The Blue Care leader said she and the other executives had already been getting some very interesting responses.
“If you ask [communities], they are certainly able to articulate what they want; it’s not one-size-fits-all,” she said.
“We need to set general directions but do our detailed planning on an area-by-area basis. Our strength is our diversity.”
Ms Batten said that in light of the Productivity Commission’s recent recommendations for a fundamental overhaul of the aged care system, Blue Care had begun planning for “some significant changes and challenges”.
“The way care is delivered in this country is about to change, and for the first time in decades governments are listening to service providers and consumers when they say the aged care system is broken.
“As one of the nation’s largest care service providers, with 10,000 staff and volunteers assisting 12,500 people every day, the community’s feedback and input is critical to us getting it right for the future,” she said.
The tour includes 10 workshops, in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Caloundra, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane.
“Almost every Queenslander knows someone whose life Blue Care has touched – our nurses, carers and support staff members have been delivering aged care and community services for more than 55 years,” Ms Batten said.
“Our residential aged, community care and retirement living services are in 80 communities and we want to continue providing services in the way, place and time people want and need them.
“We will be getting feedback on what we do well, what we could improve on, what new services should be offered and how they should be offered.
“For some time, our leadership team has been working our future services design and these workshops will help ensure nothing is missing and that what we’re proposing is wanted and valued.
“There are a lot of places to get to in the coming weeks and I look forward to listening to people’s views.”