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Scotty from marketing

attempts to shaft older Australians again

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has slammed the Morrison-Joyce Government’s renewed attempt to privatise the aged care assessment process – a plan Scott Morrison was embarrassingly forced to abandon in early 2020 after pressure from Labor, unions and state and territory governments.

8 September 2021

ALAN HAYES

 

THE AMA yesterday urged the Federal Government not to proceed with its plans to privatise the assessment process for aged care services, warning the move would risk the health of older Australians and open the system up to conflicts of interest. The Government abandoned similar plans last year after strong opposition from state governments, aged care advocates and medical peak bodies.

 

Yet, the Prime Minister who abandoned Australians in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis by not securing adequate vaccine supplies from the get-go is once again attempting to throw older Australians on the scrap heap.

 

AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, has written to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, the Hon Senator Richard Colbeck expressing his concern with the market approach to aged care assessments.

 

Unlike lifting aged care workers’ wages and ensuring aged care facilities have nurses on staff 24/7, privatising the assessment workforce was not a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. But rather than deliver the Royal Commission recommendations designed to fix the staffing crisis in aged care, the Morrison-Joyce Government has chosen to sneak privatising assessments into their response.

 

While a proposal to replace ACATs and RAS with a single assessment process was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Commissioners did not recommend privatisation.

 

“Aged care assessments must remain independent of aged care providers and be delivered by health professionals, especially geriatricians who are trained in dealing with the complex medical needs of the frail and elderly,” Dr Khorshid said.

 

“The Royal Commission’s recommendation was very clear that assessors must be independent from providers because they are effectively deciding on a person’s level of funding for aged care services like home care packages, among other things.

 

“State operated public hospitals and ACATs have the necessary medical expertise and are independent of aged care providers, who should never be allowed to assess health needs as well as recommend and supply services for older Australians.

 

“A market-based approach is a recipe for aged care service providers to put profits before patients."

 

This move demonstrates why older Australians, their families, and the aged care workforce cannot trust Scott Morrison to fix his aged care crisis.

 

The Morrison-Joyce Government must again abandon their plan to privatise assessments and give a clear assurance that this important work will continue to be done by independent, experienced, and well-qualified assessors in conjunction with the states and territories, and not for profit by private companies that may have ties to aged care providers.

 

“The intention of the Royal Commissioners was to reduce bureaucracy in getting better health care to our older loved ones, but these plans would do the opposite and potentially impact many m­­ore people through the increased inefficiency, Dr Khorshid said.

 

“The Government needs to focus on the many aspects of aged care that are currently not working, instead of dismantling one of the few parts of the system that actually works well and simply needs more support.”

 

Older Australians helped build this country. They have earned respect, dignity, and quality care but the Morrison-Joyce Government keeps failing them.

Grapevine News Online

Central Coast NSW

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