With an ageing population and an ongoing crisis in aged care, Australia is at a flashpoint, desperate for much needed government spending and reform.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (2800 pages) resulted in 148 recommendations to the Commonwealth Government, to urgently address profound, systemic flaws in our aged care system – flaws which have directly led to widespread mistreatment, neglect, poor health outcomes, personal injury and death, affecting millions of Australians and their families (read more about those recommendations here).
Although the Federal Government has described its promise of almost $18 billion over the next five years as a “once-in-a-generation reform”, many ageing Australians and industry stakeholders have immediately raised concerns that, while this might be a good first step, it doesn’t go far enough in addressing the root causes of systemic failures in aged care.
What are the key points?
In his budget address, Commonwealth Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg:
- promised 80,000 additional home care packages;
- rejected a proposal for a levy to fund changes in the aged care sector;
- promised that, by 2023, residential aged care staff would be required to spend at least 3 hours and 20 minutes with each aged care resident each day (with 40 minutes of that time to be with a registered nurse); and
- promised a funding increase of $10 per day per aged care resident.
What are the key complaints?
The key complaints raised by ageing Australians and industry stakeholders are that:
- The Government has failed to deliver on several of the crucial recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission;
- The Government’s spending promise has fallen short of economists’ calls for a minimum of $8 billion to $10 billion per year in additional government spending on the aged care sector;
- The major issue with minimum staff/resident ratios has not been addressed;
- There should be a registered nurse on site at aged care facilities at ALL times, with mandatory minimum staffing levels to take immediate effect – not be deferred until 2023;
- There is a lack of transparency as to how aged care providers may utilise funding, further fuelling stakeholders’ concerns that care providers could arguably continue to put profits before care;
- The Health Minister’s five-pillar Aged Care Reform Plan – addressing home care, residential aged care quality and safety, residential aged care services and sustainability, workforce, and governance – did not include anywhere near enough detail as to how many of the Government’s aspirational goals were to be measured or achieved.
Our experience of the Australian aged care sector
Our experienced health and medical negligence lawyers have received countless enquiries from older Australians and their families, concerning their understandable complaints of elder abuse, neglect, personal injury and – in some cases – avoidable/premature death.
In many cases, we have helped families and their loved ones obtain compensation in circumstances where health care providers failed to ensure the safety of, and/or provide adequate care and treatment to, older Australians (both in residential aged care and at home).
The Law Office of Conrad Curry urges any older Australians and their families, who have suffered adverse outcomes in aged care to contact us to discuss their legal options. Our solicitors are experienced in bringing claims against doctors and residential aged care facilities, and we treat our clients’ matters with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity. Please call our friendly team on 02 4050 0330 or make an appointment online.