Strategic planning needed to reduce the queue

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, continues to appeal to work closely with the Government on reducing the queue for Home Care Packages (HCP), following the release of the latest waitlist figures.

The March Quarter statistics show that 103,599 older Australians were waiting for their approved package.

“It is extremely disappointing that the waitlist has only reduced by less than 1,000 people during the March Quarter,” said LASA Senior Policy Adviser Troy Speirs.

“We acknowledge that the number of people with access to a package has increased by over 6,000 during the quarter. However, this represents a reduction in the number of accessed packages when compared with the previous December Quarter, where there was an increase of over 10,000 people having access to a package.

“We also welcome the more than 6,100 additional packages being released from July, which take the extra HCP investment to around $3 billion during the past two years.

“However, the wait is still heartbreakingly long for too many people and demand is growing strongly.

“We appeal to the Government to work with the sector on a detailed plan to provide older Australians with the home care services they require, in a timely manner.”

LASA notes a recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety report that showed people of all ages have a strong preference to remain living in their own home should they ever need support or care.

“There have been an extra 50,000 packages added since July 2018 but we are asking that an additional financial commitment and strategic plan be incorporated into the upcoming Budget’s forward estimates,” Mr Speirs said.

“Otherwise, the wait times will likely escalate and needs will not be met, with the waitlist potentially ballooning again.

“A reasonable wait time is three months, not up to two years.”

At 31 March 2020, 151,958 people had access to a home care package, a 4.6 per cent increase since the 31 December 2019 total of 145,320.

The latest home care statistics are here.

The current forward estimates on HCP allocations at 8 July 2020 are:
HCP data – 8 July 2020

Contact: Nick Way 0419 835 449 nickw@lasa.asn.au