Gov 'committed to genuine aged care reform'


The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler has reiterated the Gillard Government’s commitment to aged care reform while addressing the Catholic Health Australia’s Senior Executive Forum at Parliament House in Canberra today.

Mr Butler told the forum the Government is aware of the challenges facing health and aged care, and is responding with initial reforms progressing through the National Health and Hospitals Network (NHHN).

"We recognise that the current aged care system is not ideally placed to meet the challenges of the future, such as an ageing population, and we’re committed to genuine aged care reform" Mr Butler said.

"We have increased funding for aged care to $47 billion over the next four years.  This financial year, the Government has budgeted $10.8 billion for aged care, including nearly $7.4 billion for residential care.

"In the 2010–11 Budget, the Gillard Labor Government announced that it will invest more that $900 million over the next four years to support the development of a national aged care system to deliver more qualified staff, more aged care places, improved access to GPs and primary health care services for older Australians, support for older patients in hospital, greater consumer input into aged care and greater protections for older Australians receiving care."

Easier access to information and assessment

Mr Butler said the Government is also providing $36.8 million over four years to establish one-stop shops across Australia to help older Australians and their families more easily access information and services.

"These one-stop shops will act as central entry points into the aged care system, so that older Australians, their families and carers will have easier access to information and assessment for aged care services," he said.

The implementation of the one-stop shops is planned to commence from 1 July 2011, while a national consultation process with key stakeholders begins this month and will help to refine the Government’s approach to delivering a redesigned front end for aged care.

"These reforms will be the first steps to enable the development of a consistent, national aged care system covering basic home care through to residential aged care," Mr Butler said.

"I’m looking forward to receiving the draft Productivity Commission Report and working with the industry to further reform aged care so that our older Australians can continue to receive the quality care they deserve."

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