As part of the 2021-22 budget announcement, the Federal Government has responded to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, with the announcement of a $17.7 billion package of support, described as a “once in a generation reform to aged care to deliver respect, care and dignity to our senior Australians.”
The Australian Consortium for Aged Care (ACAC) is a joint undertaking of the nation’s leading aged care researchers and welcomes the new funding measures, which are long overdue to a sector in need of both reform and government support.
ACAC is uniquely placed to support the Government’s Aged Care Reform Plan by bringing research together with policy and implementation. ACAC can answer key research questions that underpin, inform and monitor the policy response and implementation of the recommendations and invaluable work of the Royal Commission and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
While the Government’s response may not be the fundamental systemwide reform many were hoping for, it does however provide a way forward for significant improvement and reform for the sector. ACAC can offer evidence-based research findings on quality and safety monitoring, healthcare practices and quality use of medicines, as well as leverage well-established collaborations supported through multiple National Health and Medical Research Council and Medical Research Future Fund grants, and long-term experience working with aged care providers and consumers.
The Aged Care Reform Plan focuses on home care ($7.5 billion), residential aged care services and sustainability ($7.8 billion), residential aged care quality and safety ($942 million), workforce ($652.1 million), and governance ($698.3 million), with the government acknowledging that fundamental reform is required but will take time. Of the 148 recommendations made in the Royal Commission’s final report, the Government has accepted in principle, 126 of these.
While a detailed roadmap of how the Government will implement the planned changes is yet to be outlined, phase one (2021) focuses on key structural and governance change across the system, including commencing the development of a new Aged Care Act, to support the development of an aged care system based on universal right to high quality, safe and timely support and care.
ACAC looks forward to working with Government and the aged care sector to facilitate evidence-based change to improve the quality and safety of aged care for all Australians, to create a transparent and caring aged care system that all Australians can be proud of.
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Registry of Senior Australians, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
- Professor Steve Wesselingh
- Associate Professor Maria Inacio
- Associate Professor Gillian Caughey
- Associate Professor Craig Whitehead
Centre for Health Services Research, University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology
- Professor Len Gray
- Professor Elizabeth Beattie
- Associate Professor Tracy Comans
Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University
- Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite
- Professor Johanna Westbrook
- Associate Professor Peter Hibbert