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Minister attempts smokescreen to hide aged care failures.



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Fri, 30th January 2009

MINISTER ATTEMPTS SMOKESCREEN TO HIDE AGED CARE FAILURES

Margaret May MP Shadow Minister for Ageing

Shadow Minister for Ageing Margaret May MP has today expressed concern over the recent Aged Care Allocation Round.

Mrs May said: “Figures released today by Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, reveal that the Rudd Government has failed 9 out of 10 Australians in need of Community Aged Care packages who will miss out on their care needs.

“Minister Elliot has ignored the needs of older Australians who wish to remain at home in their later years.

“27,039 applications for 2,784 Community Aged Care packages clearly demonstrates that the aged care sector is under-funded and its evident more funding is required for at home care.

“This is further compounded by the historic under-subscription of applications for bed licences in the latest round that will see hundreds of older Australians unable to find accommodation in an aged care facility.

“With the Rudd Government’s funding mechanism allowing for an average investment return of just 1.1% for a high care bed, aged care providers have no incentive to apply for further bed licences let alone attract bank funding.

“Respected and well run providers are reviewing their current operations and may consolidate going forward.

“I urgently call on the Rudd Government to take stock of its priorities.

“We have an ageing population and the Rudd Government simply won’t acknowledge that the aged care system is falling apart.

“Providers continuously inform me that without urgent change to the funding mechanism they will walk away leading to an inevitable shortage of aged care places.

“The shortage of beds in aged care facilities will have a particular impact on those suffering from dementia.

“The number of Australian’s suffering from dementia is set to double within the next 25 years and without an urgent change to the funding mechanism, the Government will have no capacity to care for those Australians most in need.

“It’s time Minister Elliot and the Rudd Government governed in our best interests and addressed the challenges of our ageing population”, Mrs May said[.]