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Aged Care Minister in denial over Brisbane crisis.

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Aged Care Minister In Denial Over Brisbane Crisis Chris Evans - Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged

Media Statement - 8 March 2001

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The Minister for Aged Care today denied the growing crisis in Brisbane over a shortage of aged care beds that has seen waiting times blow-out to more than three months.

"The Minister for Aged Care is ignoring all the evidence of this crisis, leaving the frail elderly in Brisbane waiting longer and longer to access the care they need and deserve," said Senator Chris Evans.

"Families in Brisbane know the truth, while they struggle to find a vacant nursing home bed for a loved relative.

"The Minister's Department knows the truth when they publish average waiting times for entry into residential aged care. In 1996-97 the average wait in Brisbane was 72 days. In 1998-99 the average wait had grown to 97 days.

"The Minister for Aged Care has now directed her Department not to publish any more figures on waiting times in Brisbane because of this alarming increase.

"Bronwyn Bishop would rather hide a problem than fix it.

"Despite clear evidence that there is a shortage of nursing home beds in Brisbane the Government allocated just four extra beds in 1999 and just two extra beds in 2000. That is a total of six new nursing home beds for the whole of Brisbane over the last two years.

"These small allocations do nothing to address the growing population of those who need aged care in Brisbane.

"As a result waiting times for nursing homes will inevitably increase.

"The frail elderly of Brisbane deserve better from the Minister for Aged Care who appears intent on simply covering up the problem."

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