Aged care concerns

Concerns with upcoming aged care reforms were discussed when Victoria’s aged care peak body met with some of its members and Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent in Warragul last week.

Leading Age Services Australia Victoria chief executive John Begg said among the aged care providers’ concerns was the implications of possible funding shortfalls the industry could face if the Federal Government’s Living Longer Living Better Bills went through without amendments.

“Aged care continues to get pushed to the side, treated with contempt and suffers accordingly,” Mr Begg said.

“More than ever, with all the knowledge and talk of an ageing population, aged care services will be a significant part of the Australian health system and it’s about time it became the centre of attention it justly deserves.”

Mr Broadbent said during the meeting attendees discussed the shortage of aged care beds in McMillan, especially respite beds.

“While we have beds coming online and opportunities for full time care, it’s the respite care where there seems to be the most urgent problem,” Mr Broadbent said.

“McMillan has a great record with its aged care services and it would be a shame now after all that we’ve done and all that we’ve provided to fall behind in our provision of aged care services.”

He said while he hoped the reforms did not lead to money being taken from the aged care sector and directed elsewhere, and he was always looking for “opportunities to grow funding for aged care”.

“With our aging population there is going to need to be an 82 per cent increase in funding for aged care services over the next 10 years,” Mr Broadbent said.

“And so this is an issue for everybody, every family faces the issues of aged care provision at some stage in their lives.”

According to the Department of Health website the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package will provide $3.7 billion over five years and will create a flexible and seamless system that provides more choice, control and easier access to a full range of services.