A number of reforms to aged care have occurred since 2012, informed by the National Aged Care Alliance’s Blueprint and the Productivity Commission’s report Caring for Older Australians. Since that time the process of improving Australia’s aged care system has enjoyed multi-partisan support.
At the 2016 Federal Election we need all political parties to commit to a timeline for how they’ll continue these important reforms to ensure that all Australians can get the care they need, when they need it, and from whom they decide.
The Australians Deserve to Age Well Campaign has spelt out in detail a number of positions that we’d like to see all political parties commit to in this election. These commitments build on the Alliance’s 2015 Blueprint and the Aged Care Roadmap developed by the Government’s own Aged Care Sector Committee.
Reforms already occurring
Over the last four years successive governments have committed to and delivered the first stages of aged care reform. including:
- A commitment that by 2021 the number of aged care places (home care packages and beds) will increase from 113 to 125 per 1000 Australians over 70. (But in 2015 the reported ratio went backwards to only 112 services for every 1000 older Australians so there is work to be done here)
- Changes to home care packages to improve consumer choice and control over how to spend their assessed level of care and services, including from February 2017 the ability to choose and change their aged care provider.
- A consolidation of the number of aged care programs through the introduction of the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and a commitment to consolidate CHSP and home care packages from July 2018.
- The introduction of a streamlined assessment process with Regional Assessment Services assessing needs for CHSP and Aged Care Assessment Teams assessing needs for home care packages and residential care.
- A reduction in duplication and red tape for aged care providers.
It is good that more people will get access to the services they need but ultimately the game of chance system remains in place and people who need support will still miss out. It is time for Government and any potential government to commit to a timetable to end the aged care lottery.