An additional $2.5 billion a year is not enough to deliver Royal Commission’s recommendations for aged care

May 10, 2021

The RACP says media speculation the federal government will commit an additional $10 billion over four years to aged care is disappointing because it may not be enough to create systematic change.

RACP spokesperson and President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, Dr John Maddison says key reform priorities for the interface between aged care and the health system won’t be resolved without big picture reform including more spending to enhance the aged care workforce, improved assessment processes, pathways to access to specialist care and a multi-disciplinary approach to providing healthcare to older people.

“Is $10 billion over four years really going to be enough to resource the kind of system overhaul that would achieve integrated long term healthcare support for older Australians? The Royal Commission itself estimated that successive government cuts had already left a shortfall of almost $10 billion annually 

“The findings of the Royal Commission were damning. They mandate a more significant commitment from government that makes delivering all their recommendations possible – not a temporary boost that kicks the can down the road.

“Too many older Australians are not getting the support they need to experience a decent quality of life. While the focus on home care is overdue it will fail to address many of the worst failures in the system.

The RACP says there are key areas of reform identified by the Royal Commission that should be prioritised. These are:

  • Enhancements to the Aged Care Workforce including a greater investment in skills, training and qualifications and better workforce planning to address under-resourcing of sites (Recommendation 75-87) 
  • Improved assessment provisions such as the single assessment process (Recommendation 28)
  • Improving access to specialists and other health practitioners through Multidisciplinary Outreach Services (Recommendation 58)

“There is a fundamental need for a higher degree of integration between the health services provided through hospitals and ambulatory care settings with Commonwealth and State funded bodies. 

“Our entire healthcare system needs to shift to more easily integrate into aged care so that people living in aged care residences can access healthcare services and lead a better quality of life.”

1 See also p. 13 of Volume 1 of Royal Commission Final Report.

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