It’s been 100 days since the May Federal Budget and key aged care sector peak bodies have put the Federal Government on notice over its lack of consultation on critical aged care reforms resulting from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The progress of reform since the government announced its $17.7 billion response to the Royal Commission’s final report in the Budget in May, has been left wanting.

Peak bodies wrote to Ministers Hunt and Colbeck, as well as the Prime Minister, in June this year, outlining the principles and priorities for the transformational overhaul of the aged care system as recommended by the recent Royal Commission.

“You cannot have successful and significant reforms without meaningfully working with the people who have to implement them. The result of a failure to appropriately engage will be confusion and misinformation, slowing progress to realising better outcomes for older Australians” LASA CEO Sean Rooney says.

“The engagement process thus far has left the aged care sector significantly concerned that the once in a generation opportunity to fix our broken aged care system will not translate into meaningful actions and tangible outcomes.”

At present, the door appears to be firmly shut on the sector’s involvement in the planning process on the landmark aged care reforms recommended by the Royal Commission and largely adopted by the government as its ‘five pillars’ of reform over five years.

One size does not fit all and those at the coalface of service delivery have much to offer on what works and what does not work.

The 19th of August marks 100 days since the government released its aged care reform plans. To say that we, as a sector, are disappointed by the lack of real consultation with the sector is an understatement.

Among the 148 recommendations of the Royal Commissioners is the requirement that government include aged care sector representatives including providers, consumers and others, in consultations on making reforms become a reality. So far we’ve seen little evidence of this.

“We in the sector are working to change our thinking and accept that we are as responsible for making this change happen as much as government,” UnitingCare National Director Claerwen Little says.

“As we reflect on the past two decades of inquiries and reports, all of which failed to bring about real change, we know that the change we want to achieve is a shared responsibility for all stakeholders across the aged care sector from providers, to workers, consumers, allied health, medical and government.”

“It’s not good enough that the government thinks it can drive reform in the aged care sector without including representatives in designing significant changes to critical aspects of aged care delivery,” Kasy Chambers, Executive Director of Anglicare Australia says

“A key reason as to why past attempts at reform have failed is a lack of real engagement on how key changes will actually be implemented and how they will work in practice at the service level.

“Things need to change if we are to succeed in this once-in-a-generation opportunity for real aged care reform.”