Warning to avoid New Year aged care emergency
Australia’s largest aged care provider representatives have united in a pre-Christmas appeal to the Federal Government, to avoid an aged care emergency in 2020.
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), The Aged Care Guild and UnitingCare Australia have joined together to urge Government to use the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) to address the immediate risk to senior Australians and support this vital industry to transition through the Aged Care Royal Commission process.
We commend the Government’s prompt commitment to key issues raised by the Royal Commission’s interim report but the areas addressed are only the tip of the iceberg and the package announced is insufficient to support senior Australians today.
We are working and standing together to ensure every older Australian in need receives the highest quality of care, without failure.
The fact is, without further investment, residential facilities – and associated home and community care services – will be lost in the next twelve months.
With around 50 per cent of facilities operating at a loss, industry analysis suggests that there are nearly 200 providers with up to 50,000 beds at an unacceptably high level of financial risk.
Around 15 per cent of providers have reported that they may need to close services in the next 12 months if circumstances do not improve.
As such, the Government must act in the upcoming MYEFO to address immediate concerns in residential aged care and home care and ensure providers are able to continue delivering high quality care to senior Australians.
We all have a role to play in making aged care better - Government, providers and the community together.
This work must be undertaken while the Royal Commission continues its important task.
Action is immediately required on:
Residential aged care and workforce
Urgent funding to support the nearly 200,000 senior Australians in residential aged care today, noting the rising cost of delivering care across Australia.
Excluding a one-off grant, more than 50 per cent of providers operated at a loss in the last financial year, and this figure rises to over 70 per cent in rural and remote areas.
Unless addressed, the continuing failure of revenue increases to keep up with cost increases will put the viability of residential aged care services at risk.
This funding will directly support the aged care workforce. Workforce is the backbone of residential aged care, accounting for 70 per cent of total aged care expenses.
There are many dedicated aged care workers around the country providing great care to older Australians every day.
We need more workers and to support those we already have so that we can deliver the quality of care we believe is required and that the Australian community rightly expects.
Home Care packages:
Australia still has around 120,000 people waiting for homecare packages in the community.
To ensure senior Australians in the community get the care they need, a detailed plan to release and fund the additional packages required must be delivered by Government.
Regional, Rural and Remote services:
The Government must immediately embed community infrastructure strategies in National Drought Response Plans to reduce the aged care and health service disadvantage experienced by these regions.
5 December 2019.