Aged care cash fight

Aged aid: Nick Xenophon and Luke Bolton meeting with residents at the RAAFWA’s Gordon Lodge. Photo: supplied.Both Nick Xenophon and the Greens have pledged to reverse funding cuts to the aged care sector before the federal election, with almost $2 billion potentially being planned to be cut from the sector by the government.
Nanjing Night Net

Peak aged care bodies have expressed concern over the cuts since their announcement in the 2016 budget, which would affect the Aged Care Fund Instrument (ACFI) after expenditure from the program was higher than forecast over the 2015-2016 review.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said the party would oppose legislation on aged care funding cuts in parliament, at least until a full review into the ACFI and the sector is carried out.

“In the last year the Coalition Government has taken an axe to the aged care sector, collectively cutting $1.6 billion in funding from aged care by cutting funding to ACFI,”Ms Siewert said.

“Many providers and aged care residents across the country have raised concerns with me about the impacts cuts through the Aged Care Funding Instrument will have.”

Ms Siewert said industry bodies had also raised concerns over alack of consultation and transparency undertaken.

“These concerns highlight the need for a full cost of care study, which the sector has long been calling for,” she said.

Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) West Australian Senate candidate Luke Bolton said he had met with both the Council of the Ageing (COTA) and Aged Community Services WA (ACSWA), who both shared the view cuts to the sector would place undue pressure on the already-strained public health care system.

“ACSWA have graveconcernsthecutswillplacemore of the needs for high-care recipients on to the public health system with unintended consequences, such as increasing delays in elective surgery and bed shortages,” he said.

“It coststhe federal government $200 per day to look after a high care needs elderly Australian in an aged care facility.It costs $1000 a day –fivetimes as much –to provide the same care in a hospital and that cost is paid for by State governments.”

Mr Bolton said NXT would reverse the planned cuts if voted to the senate.

“I will move an amendment to ensure there is a true consultative process followed with aged care providers and there is transparency about the outcomes,” he said.

Aged and Community Services Australia CEO John Kelly welcomed the NXT and Greens plans.

“The Senators understand that real reform is essential when we are talking about funding thecareand support of frail older Australians when they need it most, and a proper examination of how much it actually costs to delivercareis essential,” Professor Kelly said.

 

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