Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Report endorses positive progress on Government aged care reforms.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Media Release Bronwyn Bishop Minister for Aged Care

Wednesday 16 May, 2001

REPORT ENDORSES POSITIVE PROGRESS ON GOVERNMENT AGED CARE REFORMS The independent review of aged care concluded today that the Federal Government's reforms have been successful in improving the standard of care and the quality of aged care homes.

Federal Minister for Aged Care Bronwyn Bishop welcomed the results of the Two Year Review of Aged Care Reforms conducted by Professor Len Gray, a leading aged care expert.

Professor Gray concludes his review stating that "It is my conclusion, on completion of the Review, that the reforms have delivered substantial improvements to the aged care system." (page xxxi)

Mrs Bishop said Professor Gray made a number of important conclusions in his review.

…the industry is viable and able to achieve at least a 12 per cent return on investment, even if substantial rebuilding is necessary to meet building certification standards required to be met by 2008. (page xxvii)

●

The aged care reforms appear to have provided a substantial increase in the Commonwealth funding available to the residential aged care industry. (page 150) ●

The fine-tuning undertaken to smooth the implementation of the reforms and address unanticipated anomalies has been largely successful. (page xxxi) ●

…the review considers that there have been no adverse effects of the reforms on access to care. The evidence suggests that there have been improvements in access to care for…people living in regional and rural areas. (pages xxiii-xxiv)

●

Substantial improvement in the quality and quantity of residential buildings was a specific objective of the reforms. The evidence indicates that considerable progress has been made towards achieving this objective.(page xxv)

●

The Government introduced reforms in 1997 to Australia's aged care system to address a range of issues including poor quality building stock, inadequate capital funding and an ineffective quality assurance program for care.

As part of the 1997 reforms, the Government also ended the rigid two-tiered system of nursing homes and hostels, which was incapable of responding to the changing care needs of individual residents and replaced it with a system of aged care homes.

Mrs Bishop said she welcomed Professor Gray's seven recommendations, all of which have been accepted by the Government.

"The Government had already begun addressing issues highlighted by Professor Gray's report and the Government Response to the Review, also released today, outlines our commitment to quality care for frail older Australians.

"The Government's immediate response to the Gray Report is in stark contrast to the Labor Government's failure to respond to the Gregory Report, a report which they commissioned."

In direct response to the findings of the Gray Report (page 170), Mrs Bishop announced the implementation of new expenditure for aged care homes which require special attention because of their small size, special care needs of their residents or because of their location in rural and remote areas.

The Federal Government is providing $20.1 million over four years from 2000-2001 to increase the amount and coverage of Viability Funding.

Viability Funding is already provided to more than 200 aged care homes. As a result of the Government's announcement today, the number of rural homes receiving viability funding will more than double to over 500 homes and the rate of funding will increase by 10 per cent.

"This new approach will be simpler. Payment will be made to all eligible homes automatically and no application process will be required," Mrs Bishop said.

In direct response to Review Recommendation 3, Mrs Bishop also announced she is effecting a reform in the expenditure of respite money by directing $7 million to boost funds for respite brokerage ($4 million) and new services ($3 million), thereby acknowledging the critical role that carers play.

The Federal Government has allocated $4 million for Carer Respite Centres across Australia to enable them to directly reserve and purchase residential respite places on behalf of carers, while $3 million has been earmarked to expand the availability of respite services.

"The funding for respite services will allow additional residential, in-home and day centre respite as well as host family and peer support respite and will allow them to use innovative and flexible approaches to assist high need carers and those they care for in finding appropriate residential respite," the Minister said.

FACT SHEET

$7 Million for Respite Care

The Commonwealth Government recognises the significant contribution that carers make to the quality of life of those in their care.

As part of the Commonwealth Government funded National Respite for Carers Program, a national network of Carer Respite Centres plays a vital role in helping carers take a break from their caring role through the provision of respite care.

Carer Respite Centres work with carers and respite service providers to plan and coordinate respite services so that carers can take a break from their caring responsibilities.

In direct response to Review Recommendation 3, Mrs Bishop also announced she is effecting a reform in the expenditure of respite money by directing $7 million to boost funds for respite brokerage ($4 million) and new services ($3 million). This is a further acknowledgment by the Government of the critical role that carers play. This will be an ongoing annual expenditure.

$4m has been earmarked for Carer Respite Centres across the country to enable them to directly reserve and purchase residential respite places on behalf of carers.

$3m has been allocated to expand respite services available in the community including residential respite, in-home respite, day centre respite, and host family and peer support respite.

Increased funding will better equip Carer Respite Centres to use innovative and flexible approaches to assist high need carers and the person for whom they care to find appropriate residential respite.

FACT SHEET

Viability Funding for Rural Residential Aged Care

The Federal Government is strengthening residential aged care for rural Australia, with a significant new boost of funding as a result of findings of the Two-Year Review of Aged Care Reforms . The 2000-01 Federal Budget provided $20.1 million over four years in program funding to increase viability funding. The aim is to improve the capacity of small rural residential care homes to offer quality care to older Australians.

Viability funding is paid to eligible residential aged care homes on top of standard care funding. It is for homes with a combination of features - like small size, care for special needs groups and being located in rural and remote areas. Over 200 homes now receive viability funding.

The Review of Aged Care Planning in Rural and Remote Areas examined the current system of viability funding and consulted with key stakeholders. The aim was to design a new, simpler approach to distribute the extra viability funding. In addition, the Two Year Review of Aged Care Reforms considered the adequacy of viability funding as part of its work.

Consistent with the findings of the Review, Federal Minister for Aged Care Bronwyn Bishop today announced a new viability funding approach with a continued focus on small, rural homes, especially those in remote areas or caring for people with special needs.

The Government recognises the special challenges for these homes in delivering care, with smaller catchment populations and higher cost pressures.

The new approach will more than double to over 500 aged care homes the number of rural services receiving viability funding. In addition, the viability funding rates will increase by 10%.

This new approach will also be simpler. Payments will be made automatically to eligible aged care homes, and there will be no need for an applications process as there has been in the past. This will ensure that each home receives what it is entitled to receive.

The additional new funding will be paid in June 2001, with back payments to 1 January 2001, for all eligible residential homes. Payments will be made under the Aged Care Act 1997 Principles.

Media Contact: Media inquiries for Professor Gray - contact Julie Marginson on 02 6289 7147 or 0402 284 494 Media inquiries for Minister Bishop - contact Genevieve Atkinson on 02 6277 7280 or 0407 367 694

PLEASE NOTE - Copies of the Two Year Review of Aged Care Reform and the Government Response to the Review will be available from Minister Bishop's Office on 02 6277 7280 or on www.health.gov.au/acc/2yr_rvw/index.htm

[Media Releases Index] [Search] [Feedback]

©Commonwealth of Australia, 2001| Disclaimer | Privacy

Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care web site 16 May 2001 Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care Publication content last modified on 17 May 2001, URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2001/bb/bb01040.htm