A coalition of aged care provider groups is calling on the government to use the federal budget to address the aged care royal commission’s recommendations that will give seniors the maximum benefit in the quickest amount of time, including stumping up funding to cut the home care waiting list.

Sean Rooney

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration has launched a 15-point implementation plan that prioritises 52 of the commission’s 148 recommendations in the four key areas of human rights, access and choice, workforce, transparency, and sustainability.

The implementation plan was released on Monday, the same day as a group of 12 consumer peaks also released a joint statement identifying a coordinated set of measures the Federal Government must deliver in the next 18 months.

The AACC’s report Aged care – the way forward calls on the government to provide finding for removing the home care package waiting list by December 22, and to commit to legislating a new rights-based Aged Care Act by July 2023.

It also wants a commitment by July 2024 to implement an integrated aged care program comprising respite, social supports, assistive technology & home modification and care at home, with maximum funding amounts for care at home linked to residential funding levels.

It is asking the government to commit to establishing an independent aged care pricing authority by July 2022 and to implementing enhanced transparency and accountability provisions by the same date.

AACC spokesperson and Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney says the federal budget is an opportunity to set a plan to transform the aged care system.

“We have focused on a 15-point plan in four key focus areas, which will provide the quickest and most effective way to deliver better outcomes for older Australians now, but also position us to transform the aged care system going forward,” Mr Rooney told said.

“We know that the royal commission has identified that aged care workers and providers do a good job with limited resources and often challenging circumstances.”

He said the AACC would like the government to outline their commitment to the aged care sector.

“We’d like to see first and foremost a clear statement from the Australian Government articulating their commitment for the total overhaul of the aged care system. No more tinkering at the edges. And with that a clear statement, plan and timetable that then builds on our 15-point plan across the four focus areas that we’ve put forward,” Mr Rooney said.

The AACC has spent time with its members, consumers and other key stakeholders to establish these priorities, he said.

These priorities also include:

  • funding the establishment of a regional network of care finders and scalable assessment services
  • appointing an Inspector-General of Aged Care to introduce independent standards setting arrangements
  • announcing a joint Australian Government, employer and union application to the Fair Work Commission in 2021-22 to increase minimum award wages
  • funding a workforce program to support training, clinical placements, scholarships and other initiatives to respond to workforce challenges in a targeted manner
  • providing funding and a timetable for the progressive implementation of the royal commission’s recommendations
  • announcing funding for designing and implementing a national registration scheme for personal care workers.

Fellow alliance spokesperson and Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow said a total overhaul of funding and workforce was the only way to guarantee an aged care system where all older Australians received the respect and dignity they deserved.

Patricia Sparrow

“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,” she said.

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration is an alliance of six aged care peak bodies representing 1,000 organisations who deliver 70 per cent of government-subsidised aged care services to 1.3 million Australians.

The AACC, which was  established in February, comprises Aged and Community Services Australia, Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia and UnitingCare Australia.

This story first appeared in Australian Ageing Agenda

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