Thursday, January 20, 2022

Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety committed to welfare of senior Australians

The Australian Government welcomes the final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which has today been tabled in Parliament. This was stated in a joint press statement released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services and Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck.

We all acknowledge that we need to do more to ensure senior Australians are treated with respect, care and dignity and have access to quality care as they age, hte statement read.

The Royal Commission’s monumental report, with 148 recommendations, delivers a challenging, but achievable road to reform.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said it was clear from the Royal Commission’s work that while significant progress has been made, there is a clear roadmap to improve respect and care for our older Australians.

“I called this Royal Commission to ensure our oldest and most frail Australians could receive the respect and care that supports their dignity, and recognises the contribution that they have made to society,” the Prime Minister said.

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“I warned when I called the Royal Commission there will be stories that will be hard to hear.  And that has been the case.  But at the same time, we have also heard heart-warming cases of dedication and with the challenges of COVID-19 in the past year, we need to acknowledge the hard work performed by our aged care workforce.

“As I noted at the time, Australians must be able to trust that their loved ones will be cared for appropriately and the community should have confidence in the system. This remains our clear goal.

“Today, the Australian Government is continuing to drive reforms with additional funding of $452.2 million to address immediate priorities in the sector.”

These immediate steps will drive improved quality of care by strengthening aged care provider governance, and improved oversight of home care which will ensure senior Australians and taxpayers are getting value for money.

It will provide additional financial assistance for residential care providers so they can improve care, whilst building the much needed workforce of the future to support Australians who want to age in their own homes.

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Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, reiterated the Australian Government’s commitment to the necessary reform of aged care.

“The Royal Commission’s report is a significant document, the culmination of a two year inquiry, and demands a carefully considered response,” Minister Hunt said.

The Government announced a $537 million package in November 2019 in response to the Interim Report, with a focus on more home care packages, reducing the number of young people living in residential aged care, and improving medication management.

As part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in aged care $1.8 billion was committed last year, including a $132 million package in November 2020. This funding is increasing access to mental health support and allied health services for aged care residents, and has provided significant additional financial support to improve infection prevention and control and workforce capability in aged care facilities during the pandemic.

Today, we announce a further $452.2 million package as an initial step in responding to this Final Report.

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