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Last week’s health debate ignored aged care, says ANF

The recent health debate between health minister Nicola Roxon and Opposition health minister Peter Dutton failed to address one of the biggest challenges facing our community - aged care.

ANF federal secretary Lee Thomas said Australia could not afford to forget the vulnerable elderly.

“We are calling for urgent action to halt the decline in care-hours each nursing home resident receives,” Thomas said.

“The health debate saw Labor continue to talk about a health system that reforms all areas of health care through the national hospital and health package. The Coalition on the other hand has cherry picked areas to fund and has chosen not to reform the whole system.”

Thomas said the ANF believed while Labor has a more comprehensive policy outlook, both major parties were experiencing an unfortunate blind spot in not dealing with the integration of health and aged care.

“The amount of time each resident receives help in aged care has fallen by 20 per cent in the last four years from an average of three hours and fourteen minutes to two hours and thirty six minutes for each resident per day.

“We need a minimum of four and half hours of nursing care per resident per day. Anything less and we will experience a rise in the number of unnecessary transfers of aged care residents to public hospitals. Most concerning is the impact inadequate available care is having on these residents,” she said.

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