Letter to Editor: Paul Gregersen, Bupa Care Services

A united industry voice is about creating a positive frame – for better, more constructive advocacy for older Australians, writes Bupa Care Services CEO, Paul Gregersen

23 May 2011

Above: Paul Gregersen, CEO, Bupa Care Services

Dear Editor,

The release of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report  Is the sum greater than its parts? The value of a single industry aged care association” has attracted some negative headlines accusing ACQ and ACCV of “self interest and missionary zeal”.  Moreover, the report has been met with apathy.

We currently have a Minister for Ageing who demonstrates empathy and passion for improving the lives of older Australians. From his maiden speech in Hobart, he has consistently asked the industry to speak with a united voice. ACAA and ACSA realised that they shared more in common than separated the organisations when considering a response to the draft Productivity Commission report. Consequently the peak bodies worked together with Deloitte Access Economics to highlight the key issues of potential reform.

At the biennial Alzheimer’s Australia Conference last week, Minister Butler stated that “we need to find a much more positive frame about ageing”. It is time for us to take a long hard look in the mirror and see what we are doing to dispel the myths and promote the benefits of care services.

‘The Grand Plan’ campaign in 2010 was a noble attempt to speak with unity but sadly failed to connect with its main target audience – older Australians. Research of over 1,000 people aged 50+ by an independent agency (on behalf of Bupa) revealed that only 3% of respondents had heard of ‘The Grand Plan’. 

Every day we are inspired by our people doing simple, wonderful things that make a huge difference to the lives of older Australians; yet our sector is mistrusted by the public and an easy target for journalists who do not fully understand dementia and the complexities of caring for the frail elderly. Why is aged care the “last resort” when it should be the “natural choice” for Australians at a certain time in their lives?

Telling our stories gives greater transparency and a positive feeling about aged care. Just look at the great stuff that Warrigal Care are doing in NSW (www.youtube.com/user/warrigalcare). With the advent of the digital world, organisations such as Bethanie Aged Care (WA) and Villa Maria (VIC) are on facebook and twittering to support the positive framing of care services. Blue Care (QLD) are engaging, educating and celebrating the contributions of their volunteers; all of which helps to change the misconceptions about aged care.

The appointment of Ita Buttrose as President of Alzheimer’s Australia is a further positive step in connecting older Australians with dementia and positive ageing. More celebrities telling their stories and championing care services will help the public better appreciate and understand the great work that our people do every day.

So, for me, the joint response by our national peaks to the draft PC report together with The Grand Plan and other initiatives shows that we share more in common than that which separates us. The heart of a united voice is not about profit status, geography or philosophical missions; it is simply about ensuring that we connect our services to older Australians in a positive frame so that we are able to advocate the development of these services in a constructive way to government. 

Thank-you to ACQ and ACCV for challenging the status quo.

Kind regards,

Paul Gregersen

Managing Director
Bupa Care Services
(Board member of ACCV)

Tags: acaa, access-economics, accv, acsa, aged-care, aged-care-queensland, alzheimers-australia, bethanie-aged-care, blue-care, bupa-care-services, deloitte, dementia, ita-buttrose, mark-butler, minister-for-ageing, paul-gregersen, pricewaterhousecoopers, productivity-commission, the-grand-plan, villa-maria, warrigal-care,

1 thought on “Letter to Editor: Paul Gregersen, Bupa Care Services

  1. Thanks Paul, for mentioning the residents at Warrigal Care and the music video they made. They are full of life and want other older people to know ageing can be fun when supported by people you trust. The aged care sector is full of good people and organisations older people can trust.
    Thanks again
    Mark Sewell
    Warrigal Care

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