Providers can expect “bold changes” to the approved provider accreditation process, the Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, has warned ahead of the public release of the review prompted by the Oakden residence scandal.
Addressing delegates at LASA’s national congress, Minister Wyatt touched on the broader industry reforms including the legislative review, before moving to the highly anticipated quality regulatory review by Kate Carnell AO and Professor Ron Paterson.
“Last month, the Minister for Health and I released the report of the Legislated Review of Aged Care,” he said.
“David Tune, current Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee, led the Review and I am sure you agree with me that he did a fantastic job.”
“The Government is now considering the findings and recommendations in the context of work currently underway by a taskforce in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which is examining ageing more broadly.”
“As most of you will be aware, we have, however, rejected two of the recommendations. We won’t include the full value of the owner’s home in the means test for residential care. And we won’t remove the annual and lifetime caps on means-tested fees.”
“In working through the Review’s recommendations, one of our primary considerations will be to ensure continuing, quality service provision in regional, rural and remote Australia.”
“We’re focused on a system that is fair for all. We can’t let some older people fall through the gaps because of where they live or who they are or how much money they have.”
The Minister’s tone changed as he moved to more immediate issues including the report he received last month following the review into the industry’s quality regulatory processes and accreditation.
“I want to state very clearly that while we’re developing a longer term agenda, I am intensely focused on improving things right now.”
“Frankly, there’s too much evidence that people are missing out on care that they need, or being treated badly, which is totally unacceptable.”
“I regularly visit aged care facilities across the nation, and almost always, am impressed with what see.”
“But we know that is not always the case – and our focus needs to be on those aged care services that are not delivering, as opposed to the ones that are.”
“I have received the report of the review I set up after the appalling revelations about the Oakden residence in South Australia.”
“It is disgraceful that anyone could be treated so badly.”
“I am now evaluating how our national agencies continued to give accreditation to Oakden, and I will shortly reveal bold changes, aimed at preventing terrible situations like this in residential care.”
“And when it comes to aged care in our own homes, I am equally committed to a bold approach.”
The Minister called on providers to continue innovating and adapting to meet consumers’ demands, and said the workforce strategy taskforce will work closely with industry to determine a strategy where “quality, safety, care, kindness and compassion are non-negotiable”.
“We want the sector to become more flexible and adaptable so it can provide the right range of services, in the right location at the right time,” Minister Wyatt said.
“The Turnbull Government has embarked on a broad and deep reform agenda. It is both challenging and exciting.”
“It is driving innovations we could barely have dreamed of just a few years ago.”
“Aged care is a rapidly expanding market, and the opportunities for smart, adaptable players to serve the needs of a growing and increasingly powerful group of Australians are vast.”
“The safety, welfare and happiness of our precious older people is among the highest priorities of the Turnbull Government, and over the next five years we will be investing a record $100 billion in their care,” he said.
“Aged care sector leaders like yourselves will provide critical representation and advice, as we make decisions on the future.”
In response, Shadow Minister for Aged Care Julie Collins, said: “Labor welcomes the release of the Tune Review and the significant engagement shown by the sector and community in the development of this important report.”
“The 38 recommendations go to complex matters in the future of aged care, but we are ready to work to further investigate and develop these measures and continue the reform path Labor started.”
“The Review should be a wakeup call to the Government that it must take genuine action to make our aged care system fairer and more sustainable for all older Australians now.”
“What is clear from the Report, and the response from the sector since, is that the lack of urgency and action from the Turnbull Government to continue to progress critical reforms is starting to hurt older Australians.”
“While I have been given a commitment by Minster Wyatt that the Applied Aged Care Solutions Report (written by Dr Rosewarne) into ACFI will be publicly released, there has been no mention of the review by the Government since April.”