Red tape, the impact of labour costs and issues with home care were hot topics at a local Aged Care forum hosted by Federal Member for Aston Alan Tudge MP with the key guest, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
The forum provided an opportunity for local Aged Care providers to ask questions, share their concerns and put forward ideas for the sector. The sector has been under increasing pressure due to a spike in costs relating to increasing government red tape and the potential rise in costs due to a new proposed workforce agreement.
Issues raised in particular were:
The mountain of paperwork that needs to be done by nurses (up to 30% of a nurses time can be spent on filling in paperwork).
The impact of the labour package currently before parliament and the lack of funding to support any increases in costs.
Government measures which deliberately seek to unionise the workforce
Inadequate home care. “It is a disaster waiting to happen” said one of the forum participants
About forty percent of Aged Care facilities are already operating at a loss, according to Aged and Community Services Australia.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells carefully listed to the concerns and gave assurances that the Coalition would address them.
“Changes to the sector must be real, affordable and sustainable into the future,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
“Our key consideration is that older Australians receive the care they need, where and when they need it.”
“We will introduce four year agreements for providers that would address a number of issues including staff shortages and excess red tape, as well as ensuring they are sustainable.”
Mr Tudge said that the demand for aged care services will skyrocket over the years ahead as the population ages.
“The current path is not sustainable. About 40% of centres are already running at a loss and Federal government is just adding more cost and more red tape.
“We need a better approach so that we can families can have confidence that high quality, affordable aged care services are available in the years ahead.”