Ita Buttrose critiques Australia’s aged care system​ and ‘dodgy operators’

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The new chairwoman of the ABC, and former Australian of the Year, shared her personal experience of the system during her keynote address at the UOW Health Symposium last week.

The veteran journalist and author cared for her father Charles after he was diagnosed with vascular dementia; he died in 1999.

Ms Buttrose said, “I know something of the ups and downs of living with dementia both for the person and the carer. There were times where my father was very depressed. I remember saying, ‘Hi dad, how are you going?’, and he said, ‘Well if you must know, I’m feeling very depressed’.

Ms Buttrose said winning back the trust of older patients would not happen overnight.

“It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take a lot more than words and promises,” she said. “It will require strong leadership and positive action. It’s going to take well-trained staff and a lot more of them too; there is a chronic shortage of properly trained staff in aged care.

The time has come to … weed out the dodgy operators once and for all.”

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