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Funding for better services to Older Australians starts to flow.



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THE HON JUSTINE ELLIOT MP Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

1 July 2010

Funding for Better Services to Older Australians Starts to Flow

Older people across Australia will receive better aged care services with additional funding for services starting to flow from today, Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot said.

Minister Elliot joined Labor candidate for Wentworth Steven Lewis to tour the War Memorial Hospital in Waverly which last year provided more than 43,000 outpatient services to older people in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The hospital cares for 35 inpatients and as part of the Gillard Government’s $500 million investment to expand subacute care services, has received an additional $450,000 to employ more allied health professionals and to develop and introduce the Geriatric Flying Squad that provides clinical care and assessments in people’s homes.

Minister Elliot said: “We believe older Australians deserve better. Better health services and better aged care services and that is why we are getting on with the job of reforming our health, hospitals and aged care system.

“A strong economy and decisive action by the Government during the global financial crisis has enabled these important investments to be made, providing a fairer share and more support for older Australians and their families,” Minister Elliot said.

From today, additional funding will flow for:

 Increased financial incentives to GPs to provide services to residents of aged care facilities;

 An additional 651 transition care places to help older people to regain their independence following a hospital stay;

 Additional services through the roll-out of 1,600 subacute beds or bed-equivalents;

 Better support for aged care workers undertaking training through the Government’s $60 million Aged Care Education and Training Incentive Program; and

 A $10 million funding boost for rural and remote community aged care providers.

Older Australians and their families will also have greater control over the design and delivery of the community care and services they receive through the introduction of Consumer Directed Care packages.

From today the Government will also introduce the new Continence Aids Payment Scheme which will increase choice and flexibility for people with severe incontinence.

The Government is also working to strengthen protections for older Australians receiving care by providing additional funds to better equip the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme, expanding avenues to resolve complaints and improving the oversight of residents’ savings held in the form of aged care accommodation bonds.

Labor candidate for Wentworth Steven Lewis said: “The population of older people aged 70 and over in New South Wales is expected to increase by 41 per cent by 2020 and we recognise how important it is to plan for the future nationally and right here in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

“We are preparing for the challenges of an ageing population through the biggest reforms to the health system since the introduction of Medicare.

“Older Australians deserve a better health, hospital and aged care system. They need a system they can rely on, one that extends care beyond the hospital door,” Mr Lewis said.

Of the 651 new transition care packages that become available from today, the War Memorial Hospital will receive 12, helping up to 90 older people each year. This builds on the 20 existing packages already delivering care.

These new transition care places are delivering on the Government’s commitment to provide an additional 2000 transition care places by 2012. The new places build on the 698 places already delivering services, helping up to 5,200 seniors across the country leave hospital sooner.

Transition care places provide up to 12 weeks of care with a possible extension of six weeks, either in the client’s own home or in a bed-based residential setting following a hospital admission.

It provides low intensity therapy services, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, podiatry, speech therapy, nursing and/or personal care services.

There are currently 934 transition care packages in New South Wales that help up to 7,000 older people in New South Wales leave the acute hospital system each year.

The Gillard Government is reforming aged care. We are taking full funding and policy responsibility to build nationally consistent system. This national system will be supported by better access to services, more highly qualified staff, more aged care places, better access to GP and primary care and stronger protections for older Australians receiving care.

The allocation of new transition care places by state and territory is as follows:

State/Territory Transition care places

New South Wales 222

Victoria 163

Queensland 126

South Australia 58

Western Australia 59

Tasmania 15

Australian Capital Territory 8

TOTAL 651

For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280