Aged Care: When Will The Neglect End?

A few weeks ago another horror story emerged of an Aged Care resident with an ulcer down to the bone due to inadequate care, in a facility which had failed multiple compliance testing and been allowed to continue operating. It’s over a year since the Aged Care Royal Commission made its report and this still goes on.

Last year the Federal Government responded to the Commission’s recommendations with a $5 billion yearly increase in Aged Care funding. Estimates of the cost of implementing the recommendations are at least $10 billion a year. One might call the response half-baked. This year the budget allocates just an extra $12.5 million/ year. The horror stories will continue as Aged Care remains grossly underfunded with minimal moves to improve governance and structure and implementation of standards. In addition, the lack of support of the Federal Government for a crucial wage rise case in the Fair Wage Commission suggests a callous disregard for the horror stories we have heard.

Underpaid undertrained staff cannot provide the necessary care. Doctors don’t want to go to Aged Care facilities because there is inadequate support for their work. Residents are sent to hospital unnecessarily or simply die undertreated because of inadequate staffing.

Labor has committed to registered nurses on site 24/7 if it wins office. It supports the application for wage rises. It supports an increase in care hours/resident. The Coalition does the latter but forgot to fund it in the recent budget and then criticised Labor for not detailing the funding source. The Greens want full implementation of the recommendations. Neither Labor nor the Coalition have committed to full implementation especially with respect to restructuring the system. Instead they are cherry picking the politically obvious ones.

Funding Aged Care reform is easy. The conspicuous wealth in this country is evident. Both major parties are committed to increasing the budget deficit with planned tax cuts which favour the wealthy. So why can’t we also increase the budget deficit or tax more to look after our elderly. These are the mothers, fathers, and grandparents who have built this country and who continue to lovingly give back to their children and grandchildren.

It’s all about priorities. The interim report from the Commission was titled Neglect. “When will the neglect end?” asks Dr Tim Woodruff.

Dr Tim Woodruff

Chair

Australian Health Care Reform Alliance

Ph 0401042619

Government Policy on JobSeeker and JobKeeper Unhealthy and Economically Counterproductive

“The Federal Government’s plan to reduce JobSeeker and JobKeeper, its previous elimination of the temporary child care support measures, and its planned tax cuts will damage the lives of many and will have little if any, positive impact on the economy,” said Dr Tim Woodruff, Acting Chair of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance.

Covid kills. It affects poor people much more than the wealthy. That’s what the figures show. Poverty kills. Even relative poverty leads to poorer people suffering and dying earlier than wealthier people, whether from Covid or any other cause. That’s what the figures show.

Newstart was 40% below the poverty line before Covid. As of September 24, 1.6 million JobSeeker Australians will have their income cut to 10% below the poverty line. Those people will suffer more and die younger than their wealthy fellow Australians. This is Federal Government policy.

It is immoral policy. It is unhealthy policy.

Every dollar these people on JobSeeker have will immediately be spent, thus regrowing the economy.

Contrast that with the contemplated Federal Government proposal to give  tax cuts of $2,000 to $4,000 to wealthy Australians. They all have quite adequate disposable incomes. Those tax cuts will be spent increasing their wealth in savings such as superannuation, property investment and the like. Such spending will have little or no impact on the struggling economy. Indeed it may just maintain or even exacerbate the lack of affordability of housing for those on lower incomes.

Cutting taxes for the wealthy at this time is counterproductive economic policy

But it is ideologically consistent with a belief that if one is lucky enough to have had the opportunity to be wealthy, whether through having the right genes, family upbringing , and/or connections, then one deserves to continue to be comfortable, come what may, and damn the rest.

Questions remain. Why are mother sand babies being left ot go hungry in our cities and towns.? Why is it being left to charities and volunteers to pick up the pieces? Does our Governments have anything to say other than to call the poor a drain on society.

Does Australia really  want public policy which is driven by ideology, despite it being unhealthy, immoral, and economically counterproductive? , asks Dr Woodruff. “Are we really all in this together?”

Dr Tim Woodruff

Acting Chair

0401042619

Private health insurance reform needs a non-partisan solution

The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today called on all political parties to work together to find solutions to the current private health insurance crisis and to develop a joint approach to the future funding of private health care in Australia.

Health Budget fails prevention, equity and reform goals

The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today expressed concern that the Health Budget delivers only short-term and superficial fixes and fails to address the underlying determinants of ill-health and disability which pose the most serious health threats to our community.

Consumer-centred review of Private Health Insurance

The Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today urged the Government to respond to growing community concern about private health insurance (PHI) by implementing a comprehensive and consumer-centred review of the role of PHI in the Australian health system.

New HW research shows universal health care under threat

The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today called on the Government to investigate new figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) showing that public patients waited more than twice as long as private patients in public hospitals for elective surgery than public patients.

Time to move on from ‘drugs and doctors’

The Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today called on the Government to move beyond its ‘drugs and doctors’ focus in the Budget to address the broader health challenges facing the Australian community.

7 Better ways to spend $7 billion – Independent Health Body

The Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today called on the Government to re-direct funding in the upcoming Budget from the $7 billion private health insurance (PHI) rebate to establish an independent health body to oversee the future of the Australian health system.