Mable CEO rubbishes Australian Medical Association’s criticism of using independent contractors in aged care

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Mable CEO Peter Scutt (pictured) has defended the use of independent contractors in aged care, after a submission by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) to the Productivity Commission called for them to be banned.

“The Royal Commission did not establish any link between employment models and the quality of care. In no other sector of the economy is this link drawn, including in the healthcare sector where many healthcare professionals choose to be self-employed,” said Peter.

“Mable is enabling choice and control for older Australians as to who supports them based on their needs and preferences, consistent with the Aged Care Charter of Rights. The direct connection enabled via Mable allows relationships of choice to form and continuity of care that often does not exist in traditional rostered home care models.

“There are also existing chronic workforce shortages in aged care and disability support with demand increasing. Mable is attracting a new, diverse and much needed workforce who value choice and control over the services they offer, to whom and what they charge. They value flexibility, the opportunity to form close relationships with people who value them and the opportunity to earn more. To attract the workforce needed, we will need all pathways open.”

The AMA, as the SOURCE reported last Thursday, has a different view.

“The AMA does not support indirect employment in aged care. It is the AMA position that continuity of care is crucial for provision of adequate health and personal care in the aged care setting. An indirect employment model that relies on independent contractors (including those in labour hire agencies) and workers engaged through digital platforms is not conducive to continuity of care and therefore the AMA cannot support it,” read its submission to the Productivity Commission.

However, Peter said that when self-managing a Home Care Package and engaging support via Mable, the consumer has the support of an Approved Provider who is responsible for package management and care management and who remains accountable for meeting the Aged Care Quality Standards.

“Self-management and accessing support via Mable respects the regulatory settings and happens in partnership with Approved Providers,” he said.

The AMA claimed the sector is “forced to rely on insecure, low wages that are then further reduced by the intermediaries who connect them to the clients.”

However, the Mable CEO rubbished such a claim.

“Mable reduces overheads enabling significant more hours of support from the same funding with workers able to earn more. The evidence does not support a ‘race to the bottom’. Rather by setting their own rates (within a low overhead model), independent support providers are earning on average over $40 per hour (Monday to Friday), after platform fees, when providing social support, domestic assistance and personal care type services and these rates have risen 7% per annum over the past 2 years.”