LASA is offering to work with the Government on a detailed, long-term strategy to reduce the wait for Home Care Packages (HCP) at a recipient’s approved level to three months.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the latest report showed another significant reduction in the queue for receiving approved packages, from 129,028 in March 2019 to 104,473 in the December quarter.
“The queue remains alarmingly long and wait times for people to receive a higher level package are still reported as being over 12 months after their approval date,” he said.
“We acknowledge the impact of the Government’s allocation of almost 44,000 additional packages since July 2018 but what is deeply concerning is that the Budget’s forward estimates do not include significant additional HCP releases from 2020-21.
“This means the growing demand for home care by older Australians is in danger of not being met and the national queue will likely start trending upwards again.
“We appeal to the Government to continue investing in additional HCP funding to meet our elders’ needs and ensure they have timely support for the care they require.”
Mr Rooney welcomed the significant investment of $2.7 billion in Home Care Packages over the past two years.
The December quarter HCP report showed 128,781 older Australians were in receipt of a HCP, a 9 per cent increase over the previous quarter.
“LASA has been working closely with the Minister, the Department of Health and with consumer groups during the coronavirus crisis and we encourage this to continue in the future, especially in aged care areas that are under intense pressure,” he said.
“The provision of adequate home care services is of particular concern and we appeal to the Government to join with the industry to chart a long-term strategy aiming to reduce the HCP wait to three months.
“The Minister himself has said he would like to see the wait down to 60 days.
“We – and more than 100,000 older Australians and their families – applaud that sentiment and we stand ready to work together to reduce the queue.”
The current forward estimates on HCP allocations are: