Home | Specialty Focus | How two women are fighting for reform in the aged care sector
Amina Schipp (left) and Yvonne Buters (right) in Canberra where they spoke on reforms with Senator Janet Rice, aged care advocacy groups, and representatives.

How two women are fighting for reform in the aged care sector

In 2019, Amina Schipp met Yvonne Buters through a private Facebook support group when Amina’s mother died due to a medication error.

Two years later, the duo have been on a journey of a grassroots campaign called Aged Care Reform Now (ACRN) to advocate for aged care reform from the government.

ACRN started on Facebook, where people like Amina wanted support due to the aged care system failing them and their loved ones. The group has grown to engage in reform processes, advocate for potential solutions, and give a voice to the people.

Recently, Amina and Yvonne went to Parliament House in Canberra for an aged care roundtable – resulting in a forum of advocacy.

"We have formed a group, a coalition of aged care advocates, and everyone is saying the same thing – we want reforms," Yvonne told Aged Care Insite.

"People want to have person-centred care, enforceable human rights, and clear definitions of elder abuse."

"We hope [the talk] will allow for representatives to meet with the minister to have these conversations."

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells promised last week no changes would be made without consultations with consumers and the general public.

However, ACRN has been attempting to contact Minister Wells but has not received a response.

"We sent a huge letter in early April that explained we are not anti-government, and we want to provide constructive feedback because we know what went wrong," Amina said.

"But we only received acknowledgement of it at the end of July, which is a long time."

"It’s one thing to not listen to an ordinary person, but if they don’t listen to peak bodies and CEOs – it’s quite serious."

The duo agreed that whilst changes have happened since the Royal Commission, "promised transformations" to the sector were still pending, such as separating the aged care and sports portfolio, deinstitutionalisation, and focusing on community care.

Another transformation was a new aged care act.

Initially tabled to be implemented this July, the new aged care act has been delayed until next year. 

However, despite the delay, Amina and Yvonne are determined to sit at the conversation table before it is enacted.

"Our future for ACRN is to have input in the conversation regarding the act," Yvonne said.

"The Royal Commission promised transformational reform of the aged care system, but all we’re seeing is tinkering with the old system."

Amina and Yvonne fear the aged care sector will never break out of its current state or be too late for meaningful reform.

"We’re kind of restricted by the political cycle of four years – by the time new reform or change is made, a new government comes," Yvonne said.

"People need to start looking at aged care in the longer term and looking at older people as assets."

"ACRN will keep advocating and fighting for meaningful change."

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One comment

  1. Not surprising to hear of the poor response from the Minister, she does not acknowledge the depth of the serious dysfunctions in our aged care system, when I confronted her last year at a conference regarding the desperate and serious need for mandatory trained care workers, she just fobbed it off, like all previous governments, it’s all just too hard, they continue to install bandaid measures to cover a big blistering sore, Good luck to these women for fighting for better reforms, this is so badly needed, when will we begin to value our older citizens? it is a very sad indictment on our society, we will all be there one day.

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