Home | COVID-19 | PM passes the buck on aged care, AMA calls for audit of every facility across the nation
Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference on aged care during COVID19 at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: NCA NewsWire /Gary Ramage

PM passes the buck on aged care, AMA calls for audit of every facility across the nation

Scott Morrison appeared to shirk responsibly for the poor handling of aged care during the pandemic in an interview with ABC recently.

“Daniel Andrews, the Victorian Premier, says the buck stops with him when it comes to the hotel quarantine bungle. Does the buck stop with you, Prime Minister, for the litany of aged care failures?” ABC host Michael Rowland asked the PM.

“Well there are shared responsibilities,” Morrison started to reply, before cutting himself short and continuing: “Well public health is a matter for the Victorian government.”

Rowland tried to curtail the PM’s attempt at circumnavigating the question by telling him that aged care is the responsibility of the federal government.

“Well public health … we regulate aged care, but when there is a public health pandemic, then public health. Whether it gets into aged care, shopping centres, schools or anywhere else then those are things that are managed from Victoria. So, I don’t think it’s as binary as you suggest,” said the PM.

The royal commission into aged care has recently alleged that there was no pandemic plan in place for aged care and this has played a large part in the thousands of COVID-19 cases now tearing through Victorian homes. Scott Morrison disagrees.

“The plan was in place, assertions were made by individuals at the commission, and those assertions have been rejected,” he told Rowland.

Authorities have been under fire for a number of aged care bungles during the pandemic. From allowing providers to self-report their COVID-19 readiness, to the retention bonus fiasco and lack of readily available PPE for homes.

The AMA has said that the pandemic has exposed the aged care system and that the death and suffering has been preventable – as reported by SBS.

In a submission to the Royal Commission, the AMA has called for an urgent audit of every aged care home in Australia to prevent further massive outbreaks of COVID-19.

“Hundreds of elderly Australians have died needlessly, and without family by their side. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers have done their best to comfort and support them in their final days and hours. This is taking an enormous toll on the healthcare workforce,” the submission read.

The number of COVID-19 cases in aged care since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 3,337 with 2050 active cases. There have been 276 aged care deaths due to COVID-19.

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  1. What the Prime Minister is trying to spin his way out of here is that fact that the Aged Care Industry has seen severe lack of funding, lack of adequate oversight and has been the victim of massive funding cuts for decades.
    The Royal Commission has borne witness to those breakdowns in the foundations of the sector and the pandemic is shining a light on the inadequacies that our Government has allowed to happen.
    We are under-valued, under-resourced, under-staffed and staff are under-trained.
    These are not recent revelations.
    They have been happening for years.
    The buck absolutely stops with the PM.

  2. Yes, aged care needs more funding but it desperately needs a positive marketing campaign, one that looks to dispel ageist sterotypes including the language we use to refer to older adults. We can create VALUE of the individual through vibrant story telling – looking at the many ways our elders have contributed to our society and still do. Until we truly value our elders, we will have difficulty in attracting people to work in this sector, particularly – young people and difficulty in attracting funding. We need to move away from models of care that segrege our older citizens and look at alternative models that are more home-like and community focussed. An integrated society includes everyone living and interacting together. It’s about creating environments that include pets, gardens, regular visits by children and community and exploring innovative ways for inclusion. The more we continue to segregate, the more we will continue to undervalue as alienation sends out a powerful message of unconscious bias.

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