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Aged care bed crisis to continue past 2002

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  Australian Labor Party   National ALP

Chris Evans - Aged Care Bed Crisis To Continue Past 2002 Thursday, 29 March 2001

Aged Care Bed Crisis To Continue Past 2002 Chris Evans - Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged

Media Statement - 26 March 2001

A report launched by Labor today shows that the shortage of aged care beds will continue for at least another two years, because of the Howard Government's failure to plan for our ageing population.

"This report is proof of the Government's continued failure to supply enough new aged care beds to meet the needs of frail older Australians," said Senator Chris Evans, Shadow Minister for the Aged.

"On the basis of figures provided by the Minister's own Department and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it is possible to project the shortage of aged care beds in 2001 and 2002.

"Those projections show that in 2001 the Government will fall 10,000 aged care beds short of its own estimate on the number of aged care beds needed.

"According to the Government's target there should be 154,260 beds across the country in June 2001, in reality there will be just 144,320. That means 10,000 frail older Australians will go without the residential care they need.

"Even allowing for the recent allocation of aged care beds, which are likely to begin operating in 2002, there will be a massive shortfall of 6000 aged care beds."

"As a result of the shortfall in beds waiting times have inevitably increased. The average wait for a nursing home in 1998 was 29 days, by 2000 the average wait had jumped to 55 days.

"That increase represents the growing strain being placed on families, as they struggle to find a bed for a loved relative, and the pressure being put on public hospitals to


accommodate those waiting for a bed.

"The Minister for Aged Care has now directed her Department to stop publishing any more information on waiting times in an effort to hide the critical shortage of aged care beds and the failure of its aged care reforms." Back

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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