LETTER: Aged care needs major reform to work

A perfect storm is possibly emerging in aged care, as older Australians face the prospect of being unable to access the support they need. This is due to a deepening crisis of providers lacking the financial resources to meet the demands of quality service provision.

There have been numerous recent reports that reveal the unsustainable financial performance of aged care providers across both in-home and residential aged-care settings. The perfect storm forming is a direct result of increasing pressure on providers to deliver services in an unsustainable funding environment.

Our ability to meet the needs of older Australians and provide support to all who require it will continue to be compromised without a commitment to adequately funding our sector.

Figures released last month by aged-care industry analysis firm StuartBrown revealed that in regional, rural and remote areas, over 67 per cent of providers were operating at a loss. 

Our aged-care system is currently under incredible strain, and the needs of our older people, and particularly those most vulnerable, will continue to go unmet without immediate investment to ensure quality service provision and access.

While we acknowledge and welcome the ongoing work of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the responses to date from successive Australian governments to address the funding issues in Australia’s aged care system have proven inadequate to prevent the looming perfect storm.

It’s imperative that the government act immediately to address this clear and present issue so that older people can access the supports and services they need, when they need them, regardless of their circumstances.

Claerwen Little, 

UnitingCare Australia national director