A group of aged care peak bodies has called on the Government to adopt their new 15-point plan to improve the aged care system in the quickest time possible.
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC), the newly formed group of six major aged care peak bodies representing more than 1,000 providers, today released its formal response to the Royal Commission and they want four areas of aged care to be immediate priorities:
1. Human rights, access and choice
Currently 515,700 people, or 2.0 per cent of the Australian population is aged over 85 and as this is expected to grow to more than 1.5 million people, or 3.7 per cent of the population, by 2058 the AACC wants the government to show its commitment to older Aussies in the upcoming budget.
“Our report suggests which Royal Commission recommendations should be prioritised to ensure older Australians get the most benefit, in the quickest time,” said AACC representative Sean Rooney.
“We have identified 15 priority areas in four broad groupings that we believe the Australian Government should action immediately to ensure older Australians are given the respect and support the community expects.
AACC representative Patricia Sparrow said that a complete overhaul of the aged care sector is needed, not more "fiddling around the edges".
"The Royal Commission made it clear we need to put older people, their needs and a rights-based system first. To make that possible, big picture reform of the entire system is necessary. As part of this big picture reform we must see the critical aged care workforce grow and be well supported through better pay, conditions and training.
Sparrow said that Australians are denied the care they deserve by the simple fact that Australia spends less than half of what comparable countries do on aged care.
Point 13 of the group's plan called for greater transparency in the sector.
13. Commit to progressive implementation of enhanced transparency and accountability provisions by December 2022, including a wider range of clinical indicators, star rating performance system, reporting of care staff hours, reporting of service level financial data to the independent pricing authority and strengthened prudential regulations."
Sparrow said that the industry is on board and committed to better overall transparency.
“Providers are committed to improved transparency and accountability provisions, including a wider range of clinical indicators, a star rating performance system, reporting of care staff hours, reporting of service level financial data to the independent pricing authority and stronger prudential regulations,” she said.
Rooney said that the government needs to signal to Australians that they have a long term plan in mind for aged care and the budget response must provide clarity and certainty for the community, older people, aged care workers and service providers.
"Part of this plan must include how we fund the system, knowing that this cannot be completely solved by government. This means we need to start a national conversation about how the aged care system can be sustainably funded, and whether that means individuals contribute more to their own care.”
The 15 point plan also includes:
1. Commit to legislating a new rights-based Aged Care Act by July 2023.
3. Commit to the development and implementation by July 2024 of a new uncapped and better integrated aged care program comprising respite, social supports, assistive technology and home modifications, and care at home, with funding based on a mix of block and activity-based funding and personal budgets, and maximum funding amounts for care at home linked to care funding in residential care.
4. Announce a timetable for removing the Aged Care Approvals Round.
8. Announce a joint Australian Government, employer and union application to the Fair Work Commission in 2021-22 to increase minimum award wages which includes provision for funding award increases.
15. Establish an independent aged care pricing authority by July 2022 to determine prices for aged care services based on a casemix classification and funding model and annual costing studies which have regard to, inter alia, minimum casemix adjusted staffing levels.
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