Government’s response just scratching surface

National Seniors
Australia, the country’s peak membership body for older Australians says the
government’s response to the Royal Commission is just not

We want a government to
lead, not drip feed.

Much more is needed to
urgently address a waiting list in which people are dying.

While welcoming the
prioritisation of higher needs home care packages, National Seniors Chief
Advocate Ian Henschke says it does nowhere near enough
to deal with the more than 100,000 older Australians waiting for a
package which meet their needs.

“The government’s response
to fund an extra 10,000 places is less than the number of people who died last
year waiting for a package,” Mr Henschke said.

“The Royal Commission into
Aged Care was told that 16,000 people died in one year waiting for a package
and the government’s funding announcement barely addresses ten per cent of the
current waiting list.”

Earlier this year, Ms
Fiona Buffinton, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health, told the
Royal Commission that $2 billion to $2.5 billion was needed to fix the problem.

“By the admission of the
government’s own health department, today’s funding announcement of $496
million for the packages is only a quarter at best, of what is needed to fix
this tragic mess, in which older Australian are dying,” said Mr Henschke.

“Not only are they dying,
but last year 13,000 older Australians were placed into residential aged care
against their wishes, because there were not enough home care packages

National Seniors welcomes
extra money to train aged care workers to deal with patients or
residents with dementia but would like to know how many workers that
amount will train.

“The Royal Commission
identified this as a major issue leading to the abuse of
dementia suffering residents in aged care,” said Mr Henschke.

“However, the
government’s own figures show that there are at least 360,000 aged care workers
in the sector, so what we would like to know is just how many of those workers
will be trained by $10 million worth of funding?”

In its pre-budget
submission to be presented to the government this week, National Seniors has
proposed a training program for mature workers to be retrained in aged care to
address both the shortage of qualified workers in the sector, as well
as the growing number of over 55s currently on Newstart because they
cannot get work.

“This innovative solution
would solve the two biggest issues that older Australians face as we go into
2020,” Mr Henschke said.

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