The recommendations and the plan has been described as ambitious, and despite any contradictions in the recommendations, is firmly centred on the individual receiving care.
In response, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt, and Aged Care and Senior Citizens Minister Richard Colbeck announced a further $452.2m response package and revealed the actions they will be taking immediately in the lead up to the Federal Budget in May.
- Immediately implement review of 500 home care providers per year to provide transparency of fees.
- Commitment to 1,500 extra audits of facilities per year under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission).
- Appointment of a new senior restraint leader within the Commission.
- Extension of the pharmacy program within the Commission and under the Department of Health to 2025.
- Extension of the viability supplement to 30 June as an interim measure with a long-term solution to be set out in the May Budget.
- Funding for providers experiencing stress.
- Immediately provide an additional 18,000 places to train home care and residential care workers.
- Governance training and funding program for an anticipated 3,700 senior leaders across boards and senior executive of approved aged care providers.
- Commitment to the development of a new Aged Care Act.
The Prime Minister would not be drawn on how much it will cost to implement the Commission’s recommendations, stating that the change required is significant and is still being worked through.
In recognition that some of the recommendations directly contradict each other, the Prime Minister said “highlights the complexity of this problem.”
Interestingly, Commissioner Tony Pagone has outlined an aged care levy as one way to fund aged care in the future. Commissioner Lynelle Briggs has recommended a mix of block and activity based funding. These are both suggestions we made less than 12 months ago as part of our Funding Options and Transformation reports. There are many ways to ensure sustainable funding for the aged care sector, and it seems that we will have to wait until mid-May to find out how the Government will take these recommendations forward.
You can read the final report here.