All eyes will be on the federal budget for a commitment to invest in the Aged Care sector and kickstart its transformation following the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission.
But managing director of Ansell Strategic Cam Ansell said he believed it would fall short of adopting the recommendations of the Royal Commission and instead focus on addressing the 100,000 people on the waiting list for Home Care Services.
Ansell, who is speaking at The Urban Developer’s Aged Care and Retirement Living vSummit this week, said it would cost “tens of billions” to overhaul the aged care sector and bureaucracy as recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
He said it was unlikely in the wake of Covid-19 that the federal government would adopt the wholesale change.
“The reality is people are dying on the waitlist,” he said
“It would be cheaper in the long run to unlock the dragon and to deal with the huge bureaucracy changes required.
“The prime minister said it was going to be the centerpiece of the 2021 budget … there’s no question that he has to respond to it.”
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Ansell said the choice was to either make a generational change and adopt a “needs-based system” or delay the huge expenditure and focus instead on the ailing home care system.
In order to fund the “major change” Ansell said it would require tax increases, which presented a problem when the baby boomers generation entered the aged care bracket.
“[In Australia] 6.4 per cent of people over the age of 65 use residential aged care … double the rest of the developed world,” he said.
Ansell said any amount of spending on the sector would help to alleviate financial pressures on aged care facilities and improve access to in-home care, which could reduce pressure on nursing homes and allow older people to age in place.
The federal budget is hedged for May 11, and is expected to address the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
The key findings of the report were around moving to a needs-based approach instead of the current decades-old ratio system, which would bring the model more in line with Medicare, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
It also recommended stronger governance of the sector, with the installation of an independent quality commission, fairer access to aged care services, and more prudential management oversight.
There was also recommendations around the rights and remuneration of people working in the aged care sector.
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