Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Abbott first cuts aged care wages, now cuts quality too



Download PDFDownload PDF

Campaign Media Release

Minister for Ageing Jacinta Collins

ABBOTT FIRST CUTS AGED CARE WAGES, NOW CUTS QUALITY TOO

A leaked Coalition policy document reveals a disturbing plan to wind back standards and compliance measures that protect older Australians from abuse and neglect in aged care facilities.

The Australian Financial Review today uncovered the policy document, which includes a proposal to reduce the requirements for approval of new aged care facilities, extend accreditation periods to reduce monitoring and eliminate some regulation altogether.

When quizzed on the issue at a press conference today, Tony Abbott derided the system that monitors the compliance of aged care providers, suggesting compliance monitoring was not even worthwhile:

JOURNALIST: With the aged care sector, could it mean slashing regulation could affect the quality of a nursing home and is there is the issue of abuse in nursing homes?

ABBOTT: You are hardly going to get a defective nursing home giving you a bit of paper saying yes we have mistreated this patient, and yes, abuse occurred to this patient, or yes, we have underfed that patient. A paper-based system is hardly going to uncover the kind of problems that you are suggesting.

This should send a shiver up the spine of Australians everywhere and flags the Coalition’s intention to water down the requirement for providers to demonstrate compliance with the Aged Care Act.

Last time the Liberals were in power, their ‘hands off’ approach saw a systemic aged care crisis resulting in ill-treatment of residents. Current Coalition frontbencher Bronwyn Bishop was the aged care minister at the time.

Tony Abbott must answer the question of specifically what regulations he would dispense with: Safety standards? Privacy and dignity standards? Health and personal care standards? Nutrition and hydration standards? Palliative care standards? Skin care standards? Infection control requirements? Medication records? Care plans?

Perhaps he would simply dispense with the requirement that aged care businesses demonstrate their compliance with all of these standards on a regular basis?

Today's leaked policy from the coalition is in stark contrast to Tony Abbott's commitment during the leader's debate in which he said he would make no significant changes to aged care policy.

Federal Labor’s $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better package responded to the demands from the community to better guarantee quality, compliance and safety in aged care, including the new powers of the Ageing Commissioner.

This has been done in response to real concerns by ageing Australians and their families who want respect, dignity quality and safety in our aged care system. It is also supported by the vast majority of aged care providers.

The Coalition has clearly signalled it would move in the opposite direction at the expense of the most vulnerable older Australians.

MELBOURNE 31 AUGUST 2013