A year on since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report and the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged aged care, many had hoped for a government response to wages in tonight’s Budget – that in the end just wasn’t there!
What was there is an additional 15,000 low fee and free vocational training places specific to aged care courses from January 2023, representing a $48.5 million investment over two years as part of the JobTrainer Aged Care Boost. This is in addition to the 33,800 training places announced in the 2021 – 22 Budget.
The program is designed to provide a pipeline of entry-level aged care workers and for existing workers to upskill.
Attracting new workers to the sector is crucial, highlighted in a PwC report that predicts that by 2040 the health and aged care systems will require an additional 400,000 aged workers – raising the question as to how this is achieved when migration is constrained.
According to PwC’s Nathan Schlesinger, “Until we can gather a national united approach to fixing workforce shortages and distribution issues, access to care for many in our community will continue to be a challange, particularly in regional and rural areas”.
Pharmacies in aged care
A key part of the budget is a $345 million commitment to improve medication management through on-site pharmacists and community pharmacy services within residential aged care.
The success of this model has been proven over a number of years through a series of pilots where an onsite an pharmacist manages and dispenses medications, reducing errors and supporting aged care staff in this area.