Major parties disgracefully abandon aged care residents

Senator Rex Patrick

Senator Rex Patrick has slammed the Liberal National Government and Labor Opposition for teaming up to defer a vote in the House of Representatives on the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 2) Bill 2021.

“This is a betrayal of elderly Australians and their families,” Senator Rex Patrick said.

“I cannot understand why the Government would shelve its own Bill when it had so many important measures. Clearly they are more interested in helping the aged care facility operators rather than the residents.”

“As anticipated, instead of voting against my amendments in the Senate because they knew I had the numbers, the Government let it get through so they could bury it in the House. I am so utterly disappointed the Labor Party allowed them to do this when there was support in the House from the crossbench to pass the Bill.”

“This Bill was so important for the residents of Aged Care facilities and their families, it is heartbreaking it has been left to languish in the Parliament”.

“Rather than work proactively to improve things for our elderly citizens, the Government deliberately kicked the can down the road to be dealt with who knows when.”

“I’m concerned many aged care residents are not getting the care they need, and that their care is highly variable depending on where they are located across Australia. The inconsistent approach leads to variations, often negative in nature, in the level of care and quality provided to residents.”

“Proper care for our elderly is critical and it requires aged care homes to have registered nurses on site at all times. Having a registered nurse present in an approved aged care facility will improve the quality of end of life care; improve communication between residents, family and other health care professionals; and promote wellbeing issues that affect restorative care.”

Other important features of the Bill included an improved funding mechanism for residential aged care, new screening requirements for workers, the ability to establish an enforceable sector code of conduct and a scheme to ban aged care workers who do the wrong thing, a serious incident response scheme for home care services, strengthened governance obligations for approved providers, improved information sharing between social care regulators, stronger rules to prevent the misuse of refundable accommodation deposits and bonds, and provisions establishing a new Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority.

Senator Patrick’s amendment to the Government’s Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 2) Bill 2021 is supported by a number of key organisations with members directly involved in aged care including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

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