Just 300 ‘new’ Home Care Packages revealed in Royal Commission hearing – how can the bureaucrats guide the aged care sector?

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A week after I reported on the Department of Health’s revelation that only 300 of the 50,000 new Home Care Packages released by the Federal Government in the last three years fell outside its forward estimates at the Royal Commission’s home care hearing, The Australian newspaper has picked up the story.

That session with three officials from the Department – Michael Lye (pictured above centre), the Deputy Secretary for Ageing and Aged Care; Amy Laffan (pictured above right), the Assistant Secretary for Aged Care Reform and Compliance; and Dr Nicholas Hartland PSM (pictured above left), the First Assistant Secretary for Aged Care Policy and Regulation – highlighted a severe lack of planning for the future of the home care sector in Australia.

Mr Lye agreed there were only 300 additional packages that would be introduced into the system by 2024 – four years from now.

The Deputy Secretary also admitted that the Department has completed little forecasting on how long it might take to integrate the HCP and CHSP programs, build the assessment capacity to meet demand or its cost.

“We have done some thinking in the space but that is not concluded,” he told the Commission.

You must ask the question: how can the bureaucrats be guiding the sector when they have no clear plan?

How can they lead from the top when they hand the consultants data that is two years old to analyse – or collect data that well-regarded advisers to the sector claim is flawed?

It is worth noting there has been no defense from the Department on this issue – despite the Government having previously spoken out on other hot topics by disagreeing with the unions and peak bodies.

Perhaps, they know the truth – they have truly dropped the ball on this issue.