Reforms so far
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.