Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Fresh ideas for transition from hospital to aged care.



Download PDFDownload PDF

FEDERAL LABOR LEADER KEVIN RUDD MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING DISABILITIES AND CARERS SENATOR JAN MCLUCAS SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH NICOLA ROXON MP

FRESH IDEAS FOR TRANSITION FROM HOSPITAL TO AGED CARE

A Rudd Labor Government will help older Australians waiting on hospital wards to get an aged care bed or return home sooner in an investment package announced today.

Mr Kevin Rudd made the announcement at the Queensland ALP Conference where he delivered the third in a series of Fresh Thinking for the Future Economy speeches and launched New Directions for Older Australians.

This investment is an important first step in relieving the pressure off our hospitals and ending the blame game and cost-shifting that goes on between the Commonwealth Government and State and Territory governments.

Under Federal Labor’s initiative, $158 million will be invested over the next five years to create up to 2,000 transition care beds for older Australians who are currently waiting in hospital beds for an aged care bed and allow others to return to their home.

Federal Labor will also provide $300 million of loans at zero real interest rates to aged care providers to make up to 2,500 permanent residential aged care beds available to older Australians sooner.

Federal Labor’s plan will make the move from hospital to residential aged care a priority for those older Australians who - more appropriately for their care - need a bed in a nursing home.

There are currently about 2,300 older Australians who have been assessed for residential aged care waiting in hospital wards. Some are waiting months for a bed in a nursing home.

It also means that much needed hospital beds are not available to Australians of all ages waiting for surgery or medical treatment.

The average daily cost of a hospital bed is $967. The average cost to the Commonwealth of an aged care bed is just over $100 a day.

In a year, the cost to the health system of leaving 2,300 older Australians waiting for a nursing home bed in an acute hospital each night is more than $700 million.

Federal Labor’s investment will:

• Relieve the pressure off our hospitals, thus allowing the States and Territories to reinvest these savings and efficiencies back into improved hospital services for Australians

• Create up to 2,000 more transition care bedss for older Australians • Allow aged care providers to deliver up to 2,500 additional permanent residential aged care beds sooner than otherwise.

Too often, buck passing and cost-shifting has resulted in older Australians being stuck in hospitals instead of being at home or in a nursing home. It also results in an economic and fiscal cost to the economy. As the bipartisan report of the recent House of Representatives Committee on Health and Ageing into the blame game has noted:

[while] It is difficult to estimate and verify the cost of wasted bureaucratic effort. Various estimates were provided to the committee giving the costs of inefficiencies, ranging from annual savings of $1.1 billion and up to $4 billion

if potential savings in improving population wellness are taken into account.

BRISBANE, JUNE 30 2007 FIONA SUGDEN 0422 880 737