Thursday, 30 April 2009 00:00

Uniting Care Australia welcomes Senate Report on residential and community aged care in Australia

UnitingCare Australia has welcomed yesterday’s report of the Senate Inquiry into Residential and  Community Aged Care in Australia. The Inquiry, conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration, has called for sweeping changes including an all-encompassing review of the sector using a client-based approach.

UnitingCare National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said, “It is time that the Minister and the Department of Health and Ageing worked with all stakeholders to radically reform a care system that is in crisis and unable to meet community needs and be financially sustainable. These reforms should have the needs of the client foremost in mind, so that our older citizens have choices available and can live healthy lives within supportive communities. The Government has shown a welcome appetite for reform in other social service areas such as housing and financial health and wellbeing, and it is vital that the Government’s reform agenda take in aged care too.”

The Inquiry has called for new national stakeholder bodies to be set up: a national aged care forum to consider the challenges being faced in aged care; a stakeholder taskforce to action this national forum’s determinations; and a stakeholder roundtable to help set up a consistent approach to data gathering and research.

Ms Hatfield Dodds said, “UnitingCare Australia is delighted that the Committee has called for stakeholders to be so centrally involved in addressing the challenges faced by the sector. The stakeholders know what the problems are, and many of the ways forward. We now need action and we stand ready to work closely with the Minister and the Department to implement fundamental systemic changes.”

The Inquiry has also called for a review of the costs of meeting regulation, accreditation and compliance measures, with a view to rationalising processes.

Ms Hatfield Dodds said, “The aged care sector is in serious danger of collapsing under the weight of overregulation. We want our caring professionals to spend more time caring and less time filling in form after endless form. We are delighted that the Senate Committee has called for the costs of meeting this overregulation to be considered and more cost effective ways of complying with high standards of care found.”

30 April 2009
Contact: Michael Brown, 0418 916 936