Hopes $106m will be enough

Will a fed­eral pledge for fund­ing ad­dress the aged-care work­force is­sues high­lighted in re­gional care fa­cil­i­ties?


A RE­CENT an­nounce­ment of an ad­di­tional $106 mil­lion for the aged care sys­tem is a much-needed boost for a sec­tor that has been ne­glected for far too long.

But, ac­cord­ing to AMA pres­i­dent Dr Tony Bar­tone, it does not ad­dress the ur­gent work­force chal­lenges fac­ing the sec­tor.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment pledged an ex­tra $16 mil­lion for the Aged Care Qual­ity and Safety Com­mis­sion, $40 mil­lion to sup­port ser­vices in re­gional, ru­ral, and re­mote ar­eas, and $50 mil­lion to sup­port res­i­den­tial aged care providers and their staff to im­prove qual­ity and stan­dards of care.

“Older Aus­tralians are among our most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, and they de­serve the best care pos­si­ble.

“Too many res­i­den­tial aged care fa­cil­i­ties are re­ly­ing on lesser-trained per­sonal care as­sis­tants in­stead of reg­is­tered nurses to de­liver care.”

While the or­gan­i­sa­tion wel­comes the fund­ing, Dr Bar­tone ex­pressed con­cern about the de­layed re­sponse of ac­tion from the gov­ern­ment. How­ever, the step for­ward is im­per­a­tive to en­sur­ing safe and equitable care is given el­derly pa­tients.

“The AMA has long been ad­vo­cat­ing for the in­tro­duc­tion of an in­de­pen­dent Aged Care Com­mis­sion that pro­vides a clear, well-com­mu­ni­cated, gov­er­nance hi­er­ar­chy that brings lead­er­ship and ac­count­abil­ity to the aged care sys­tem,” he said.

“We are pleased that the new Aged Care Qual­ity and Safety Com­mis­sion will re­ceive a fur­ther $16 mil­lion to do its job of polic­ing qual­ity and sup­port­ing our el­derly cit­i­zens should the sys­tem fail them.”

How­ever the AMA still recog­nises the prob­lems fac­ing the el­derly liv­ing in re­gional or ru­ral parts of Aus­tralia.

Dr Bar­tone said ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties needed to be pro­vided at a min­i­mal cost to these of­ten strug­gling res­i­dents.

“Aged care in re­gional, ru­ral, and re­mote ar­eas presents a unique set of chal­lenges, com­pared to met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas.

“The AMA Po­si­tion State­ment on Re­sourc­ing Aged Care called for more re­sources to im­prove in­fra­struc­ture in these ar­eas so that older peo­ple do not have to travel long dis­tances to re­ceive ap­pro­pri­ate care, and this ad­di­tional fund­ing will help.


WHO CARES? Older Aus­tralians de­serve the best sup­port and care pos­si­ble.

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