Regional aged care roundtable
AN OPEN conversation about the current challenges facing the aged care industry was held last week.
On Friday, before the opening of Shepparton’s new Maculata aged care facility, Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum organised a round table discussion where he invited all the aged care facilities in the electorate to talk about issues with the Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM.
A similar forum happened almost two years ago, where people from the 20 aged care facilities in the region discussed matters which shaped federal policy.
This meeting saw around 35 people from the facilities come together in Shepparton.
Among these people was Echuca Community For The Aged chief executive Colin Price, Glanville Village’s nursing director Darren Clark and BUPA’s general manager Kathryn Eyre.
Throughout the meeting, issues ranging from the recent commencement of the Royal Commission to local needs arose.
‘‘There weren’t many answers given to us as such,’’ said Mr Price.
‘‘It’s not as though he brought out a magic wand and solved all our problems.
‘‘His comment around the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was that there will be some uncomfortable situations arising. But he’s still positive about the industry and caring for the elderly members of the community.
‘‘There are isolated pockets of negative behaviour towards the elderly but the vast majority of the industry aim to provide the highest quality of care.’’
Kathryn Eyre, who travelled to the meeting with two of her care managers found the forum very insightful.
‘‘It was incredibly valuable and a great opportunity for local members of the industry have time with Minister,’’ she said.
‘‘He was certainly aware of the challenges we face, particularly in regional areas and he heard our individual concerns.
‘‘A standout conversation for me was about the workforce and how to retain and bring suitable workers to our area.
‘‘He talked about how he was working closely with the Shadow Minister for Aged Care, that way, regardless of who is in power after the the next election, what is best for the industry will be maintained.
‘‘I’m confident the discussions had on Friday will go on to shape the future of the industry.’’
With much of the aged care industry currently under review, the round table meeting could not have come at a better time.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the intense media scrutiny has seen the public lose confidence in the industry. With areas such as the governmentfounded Aged Care Funding Instru- ment (ACFI) the Aged Care Act and the Aged Care Legislation under review, the ability for regional aged care facilities to meet with the Federal Minister was incredibly important.
Overall, the consensus was the round table discussion is a positive and open discussion to have.
‘‘I think it’s important for all industries to have first hand contact with their people in government,’’ Colin Price said.
In a statement to The Riverine Herald the Minister welcomed the round table discussion and future open riverineherald.com.au conversations with industry workers.
‘‘It’s heartening to know our views and ideas have the potential to become part of policy,’’ Mr Wyatt said.
‘‘It was wonderful meeting with local providers because they gave me great insight into what is happening on the ground.
‘‘The issues they raised with me will inform the way I develop policies and strategies for senior Australians.
‘‘Their frankness and honesty were very helpful.’’ the aged care