Workforce, quality top sector’s reform concerns

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration’s new reform scorecard shows the sector has low confidence in the progress of reforms so far.

Aged care providers have little confidence in the progress of aged care reforms six months after the Federal Government announced its five-pillar plan, an industry survey has found.

In response, provider groups are calling for government to act on workforce issues, the flow of reform implementation information and partnering with providers.

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration, an alliance of six aged care peak bodies, launched the Aged Care Reform Scorecard on Tuesday to monitor the implementation of reforms coming out of the royal commission.

It asks providers to rate whether the reforms are on time, have met expectations and are instilling confidence in the future.

The scorecard, which will be released at least six-monthly, includes a traffic light report on nine key reform areas in the government’s five-pillar response, which shows provider confidence is lowest for workforce and quality assurance and improvement (0 – 20 per cent confident). 

This first scorecard in the series, which is based on 55 participants, found the median respondent is 30 per cent confident in the overall success of the reform process so far.

A quarter of respondents are more than 50 per cent confident and just two respondents are 80 per cent confident or higher.

Providers are most confident, but not completely confident, about reforms related the independent pricing and costing of aged care services and supply and choice (61 – 80 per cent).

They are less confident about a single home-based care program, accountability and transparency and health interface (41 – 60 per cent) and residential aged care funding and system governance (21 – 40 per cent).

Traffic light ratings. Source: AACC

The report acknowledges there are only a few tangible milestones to date to measure success against but says serious concerns with the reform process are already emerging.

“Survey responses indicate these concerns are driven by lack of transparency, ineffective consultation, perceived inattention to outcomes, and unclear commitments on a number of key issues on the part of the Government,” the report said.

In response, the AACC is calling on the government for:

Paul Sadler
  • a strategic response to the range of workforce issues
  • a consistent flow of information about reform implementation, including timeframes for consultations and progress against milestones
  • genuine partnering with providers and other stakeholders to work towards a shared vision of high-quality aged care.

Aged and Community Services Australia CEO and AACC representative Paul Sadler called the progress to date disappointingly slow.

“Providers have significant concern that the reform process is too slow and lacks transparency.  Every day of delay is a missed opportunity to offer someone the best quality of life and care possible as they age,” Mr Sadler said.

Sean Rooney

Fellow AACC representative and Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said the sector needed commitment from the government to fully resource providers to better reward the workforce and support training and career progression.

“The royal commission provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the broken aged care system and we need a skilled and experienced workforce to deliver on the potential for better aged care services,” Mr Rooney said.

Access the scorecard.

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Tags: aged care reform scorecard, Australian Aged Care Collaboration, paul sadler, royal commission into aged care quality and safety, Sean Rooney,

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