Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, says today’s announcement by the ALP that it will address a number of key issues facing aged care if elected is generally good news for older Australians and the sector.
CEO Sean Rooney says LASA has been calling for the priority issues of the home care waitlist, residential care funding and workforce investment to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“LASA welcomes the ALP’s commitment to aged care and particularly the promise to work with all stakeholders in the industry to make the aged care system better. Only a truly collaborative approach, where all players are respected and engaged, will deliver the outcomes older Australians need and deserve.
“Australia needs an aged care system that ensures older Australians can access the care they need, when and where they need it, and that this care is adequately funded to reflect the actual costs of delivering high quality care and services. And, that our workforce is supported so we can attract, develop and retain, passionate, qualified and professional people to care and support the growing numbers of older Australians. Today’s ALP statement signals a commitment to move forward in this direction.
“With a forecast $154 billion in savings over the next decade, we would have preferred fully costed responses to the solutions we have put forward to make the aged care system better. However, we welcome Bill Shorten’s commitment today that he will take decisive action if elected next Saturday.
“We particularly welcome the ALP’s plan to fix the unacceptable impact on the nearly 130,000 older Australians wating for a home care package.”
Mr Rooney said safety and quality in aged care is not negotiable and is the sector’s highest priority.
“A high quality, high performing workforce is fundamental to delivering a high quality, high performing aged care system. A system that delivers care and support with safety, quality and compassion – always. Progressing support and action for the Aged Care Workforce Strategy is fundamental to realising this outcome.
“The ALP’s commitments must be backed by sector funding that reflects the true cost of care and provide flexibility for operators to attract and retain the right mix of staff to best meet the individual needs of their residents and home care clients, in line with the new safety and quality standards.”
Mr Rooney said any additional nursing staff would need to be fully funded and measures put in place to recognise the challenges for providers in accessing qualified nurses, particularly in rural and regional settings.
“Specific commitments to dementia training and improved access to GPs made by the ALP today are also very welcome.”
Notwithstanding the ALP’s intent, Mr Rooney said the sector remains deeply concerned about the financial crisis facing residential aged care providers.
“Whilst the Royal Commission goes about its important work, we should not wait until their final report to start making the aged care system better.
“The next Government must address as a matter of urgency the funding emergency in residential aged care, which sees an estimated 43 per cent of facilities currently operating at a loss.
“This situation impacts the ability of residential care providers to consistently meet the changing needs and expectations of older Australians.
“It is an urgent priority to ensure that all residential care providers are adequately resourced to meet the high standards of quality and safety that their residents and the community requires.”
“With a week still remaining in the campaign LASA is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to now announce the Coalition’s plans for the sector.
“Older Australians and those that care for them deserve real vision and commitment from the next government of this country. We cannot afford to wait until after the Royal Commission to get on with the job of making the system better.
“LASA stands ready to work with the next government of Australia to ensure we achieve a sustainable and world class aged care system.”
Mr Rooney urged aged care providers, their staff, clients and local communities to take part in a national day of action this Tuesday 14 May to let their local candidates know that aged care is an issue of national importance.
Read more about LASA’s policy solutions and its “I Care for Aged Care” campaign here: https://lasa.asn.au/federal-election-2019/
About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)
LASA is the national peak body representing and supporting providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living. Our purpose is to enable a high performing, respected, and sustainable age services industry delivering accessible, affordable, quality care and services for older Australians.
We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 57% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 33% are for-profit providers and 10% are government providers.
Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.
Media Contact: David O’Sullivan Ph 0427 138 024 E firstname.lastname@example.org