No more “quick fixes and band-aids” for aged care, experts warn

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Australia’s aged care system needs urgent attention and funding reform to ensure its future sustainability, a University of Technology Sydney (UTS) research paper commissioned by the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) has warned.

The Sustainability of the Aged Care Sector: Discussion Paper from UTS Ageing Research Collaborative (UARC) says that increased government spending must be accompanied by a strategic response from government, the sector, and consumers.

According to ACCPA Interim CEO Paul Sadler (pictured), Australia must move away from “short-term fixes and band-aids” when it comes to aged care.

“Funding fixes like the $18 billion in the 2021 Budget, while welcome, are not enough to address chronic workforce shortages and implement better standards that can be sustainable as costs increase and needs change.

“This means we need to start a national conversation involving consumers, aged care providers and other stakeholders in the sector, and government, about how the aged care system can be sustainably funded, and whether that means individuals contribute more to their own care,” he said.

The paper lays out four strategic areas for a suggested response:

  • Reducing the rate of growth of demand for subsidised aged care services;
  • Improving the effectiveness of aged care services;
  • Improving the efficiency of service delivery; and
  • Establishing more equitable funding for subsidised services.

Senior economic experts have warned of a potential budget blowout on NDIS and aged care without funding reform, such as Plan B.