18 February 2021
The last week saw the launch of a national campaign by the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) with the tag line ‘It’s Time to Care about Aged Care’. The collaboration is largely dominated by aged care industry providers and associations.
Whilst we would share the headline message (It’s time to Care about Aged Care) - indeed we would say it’s long overdue - we think that the themes of the campaign do not go far enough in addressing the needs of the sector identified in innumerable reports and inquiries, including the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which is due to report to the Federal Government in the coming week.
The fundamental failing of the system so evident in evidence and analysis presented to the Royal Commission is that there are simply not enough nurses and personal care staff to deliver safe basic care to all, let alone high-quality care.
The campaign by the AACC fails to address this fundamental issue.
Another key issue raised before the Royal Commission is the lack of transparency and accountability over the use of public funding within the sector.
Without real accountability and transparency about how funding is used to meet the needs of consumers we run the very real risk of those funds being misdirected. Again, whilst calling for improved funding the AACC’s campaign does little to address the need for accountability and transparency.
Eighty per cent of ANMF aged care members in the recent COVID survey reported that despite additional funding for the sector there was increased workload, but no extra staff in a sector that was already struggling.
The ANMF will continue to campaign for real and fundamental reform of the sector.
Any increases in government funding need to be linked to:
- Mandated safe staffing ratios – minimum staffing levels and skills mix
- Legislated transparency and accountability measures over funding
- Guaranteeing workforce capacity and capability including addressing poor wages and working conditions in the sector
- Registration of care workers
Following the release of the Royal Commission’s Final Report, due February 26, the ANMF will be actively campaigning for the implementation of major change in the sector.
Watch this space for how you can contribute to the campaign ahead.