The latest data released by the Productivity Commission shows that wait times for those needing to enter residential aged care have increased almost 50 per cent since 2016–2017.
The report released this week also shows that those Australians waiting for the highest-level home care package have an average wait of 34 months.
Data for the 2018–19 period tells us that 41.9 per cent of older people entered residential aged care within three months of their ACAT approval. However, the median wait time is now at 152 days, an increase from 121 days in 2017–18 and 105 days in 2016–17.
For home care packages, the wait times range from seven months for a level 1 package to 34 months for a level 4 package. The report states that “as approval processes for clients have changed significantly under the new arrangements, data are not comparable over time, and data for 2018–19 should not be compared to previous years”.
Government data released last year puts the number of people with access to a home care package at 134,930. However, there were 62,942 people seeking a home care package at their approved level who had not yet been offered access to a lower level package.
The total number of people on the home care package waitlist currently sits at over 129,000.
According to the report, government spending on aged care during 2018–19 was $20.1 billion – $4874 per older person.
In response to last year's aged care royal commission interim report, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $537 million injection into aged care. However, aged care peak bodies said this was not enough.
Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said: “We have told the government that residential care services need $1.3 billion in additional operational funding right now to avoid the risk of unplanned closures, service failures and job losses.”
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation federal secretary Annie Butler said the announcement was “little more than a politically expedient attempt to try and convince Australians that the government is ‘doing something’ about aged care”.Do you have an idea for a story?
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