NFP Coalition Warns on Aged Care Crisis
30 January 2012 at 12:13 pm
|Flickr image: Some rights reserved by Vermario|
A coalition of 28 peak organisations has warned the Federal Government that the aged care sector is headed for a “crisis” unless urgent reform is undertaken.
Consisting of consumer groups, providers, unions and health professionals across Australia, the groups have joined forces to call for an urgent end to what they describe as a ‘stalled aged care reform on a system designed for the 1960s’.
According to the Council of the Ageing (COTA) chief executive, Ian Yates, by 2050, 3.5 million Australians will need aged care services.
“That is a greater than threefold increase on the current load,” Yates said.
“Yet many older Australian’s are already struggling to find the services they need to continue to live at home or are on long waiting lists for residential care.
Launched yesterday, the Australians Deserve to Age Well campaign is seeking support for an overhaul of the aged care system to ensure it copes with the needs of our ageing population into the future.
“The Australians Deserve to Age Well campaign will highlight the inefficiencies in the current system and ask people to share their own experiences and challenges as they try and navigate through it,” Yates said.
The Productivity Commission released the Caring for Older Australians report in August last year, recommending a comprehensive reform of the aged care sector.
Yates said that both the Government and Opposition must commit to implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations.
Catholic Health Australia CEO, Martin Laverty, said that “urgent changes” were needed to meet future needs.
“If we don’t build new residential care facilities now there will be a chronic shortage of beds in 3, 4 and 20 years time,” Laverty said.
Meanwhile, Uniting Care Australia National Director, Lin Hatfield-Dodds, said overwhelmingly people wanted to stay as long as possible in the family home and yet many were forced into permanent care when they couldn’t find appropriate services.
“We are seeing a marked increase in the numbers of people looking for in home services. This trend is likely to continue as our population ages. We need a more flexible and people centred approach to aged care to enable older people the choice to live at home as long as they can.”
Australian Nursing Federation Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said unless reforms were committed to now there was no way Australia would attract the predicted 500,000 more aged care workers needed by 2050.
“Bipartisan commitment is needed now to improve the working lives of all aged care workers or we’ll see a rapid decline in the quality of aged care in the short term.”
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