Aged-care sector needs fund injection before Royal Commission ends
Following an alarming report, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has called on the government to relieve the financial stress affecting the sector while the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety goes about its critical work.
StewartBrown’s Aged Care Financial Performance Survey for the 2018/2019 financial year highlights viability concerns for some approved providers, impacting on their ability to maintain service levels, reducing investment in the sector and potentially causing the dislocation of care recipients and staff if a service fails.
The survey emphasises that government subsidies are not keeping pace with the rising costs of delivering high-quality care and services. The performance of the sector continues to experience challenges due to further declines in financial results for the residential and home-care segments.
The report reveals that residential care operating results declined in real terms, even after the one-off government injection of $320 million.
“Substantial and appropriate funding initiatives need to progress during the Royal Commission period rather than delaying until their findings and recommendations are tabled, to then be considered by parliament and sector stakeholders, which may be some years away,” said the report.
“The aged-care sector does not have the luxury of time as many of the issues being experienced are increasingly of a long-term nature and, accordingly, will require structural changes to remedy.”
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the latest data only confirms what the sector has been telling government and warns that older Australians will be impacted unless action is taken now.
“Our members have been warning of potential withdrawal of services, staff cuts and reduced services to residents and care recipients unless something changes,” Rooney said.
“Meeting the needs of older Australians is an issue of national importance. Ongoing financial pressure undermines the sector’s ability to provide the services that older Australians need and deserve.
“As this report states, we cannot wait for the Royal Commission to run its course as that will be too late for some providers.
“LASA renews its call on the government to act now to prevent loss of services while the Royal Commission goes about its important job of considering longer-term reforms for the aged-care system,” he concluded.
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