Aged care advocates say $500m doesn’t go far enough

Scott Morrison announced 10,000 new home care packages on Monday (Bigstock)

Aged care advocates, including Catholic Health Australia, say the Morrison Government’s $500 million response to the crisis gripping the sector doesn’t go far enough. Source: The Daily Telegraph.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced 10,000 new home care packages on Monday, plus funding to curb the use of medication as a chemical restraint, as well as more money for dementia training and removing younger people from aged care.

All these areas were identified as requiring immediate action by last month’s aged care royal commission interim report.

The measures have a total cost of $537 million, with $496 million of that committed to the home care packages — most of which will provide high levels of help.

Councils on the Ageing CEO Ian Yates said while the extra packages were welcome “the missing piece of the puzzle” was a strategy to get the median waiting time down from 180 days to the government’s own target of 60 days.

“What’s the plan? It’s essentially ad hoc,” Mr Yates said.

Nationals Seniors Australia spokesman Ian Henschke said the Government hadn’t even met the “most dire need”.

“Ten thousand packages is 6000 less than the number of people who died last year while they were waiting,” Mr Henschke said.

Aged Care Crisis spokeswoman Lynda Saltarelli said it “welcomed these small first steps that attempt to address the immediate crisis points identified by the royal commission. (but) these fall a long way short of the fundamental structural changes needed to address the deep flaws in the system”.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the government had increased the number of home care packages from 60,000 to 150,000 including the 10,000 that will become available from next month.

He also noted the royal commission had not recommended “just flooding the market with additional packages”.

But Catholic Health Australia chief Pat Garcia said with 110,000 people still on the waitlist, “much more” needed to be done.

"It’s very encouraging to see the Federal Government make a start to addressing the very real concerns raised by the royal commission. While half a billion dollars is a significant amount of money, it’s been estimated we need $5.5 billion alone just to address the full home care package waiting list and the remuneration gap for the underpaid aged care workforce,” Mr Garcia said.

FULL STORY

$500m doesn’t go far enough, aged care advocates say (The Daily Telegraph)

Aged care funding boost a welcome start: CHA (Catholic Health Australia)

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