Letter, The Sunday Age
A month ago, the Aged Care Guild began a campaign called “Protect Aussie aged care”. It launched a petition asking for signatures in a bid to pressure the government into providing more funding. How many people signed the petition not realising they were supporting some of the most profitable providers in the aged care industry? The Aged Care Guild represents the largest nine aged-care companies: BUPA, Japara, Regis, Estia, Allity, Arcare, McKenzie, Blue Cross and Opal. These companies are now the fastest-growing owners of aged care homes in Australia. According to their annual reports (2015-16), Japara made a profit of $30 million – up 5.6 per cent; and Estia $51.8 million – up 16 per cent. These large profits depend on substantial government subsidies.
This campaign resembled “astroturfing” – although the campaign mimicked a grassroots movement, it was run by a highly paid lobby group.
With the recent horror stories about the quality of care in residential aged care homes, including maggots being found in a resident’s mouth at an Opal aged care home, we need to feel reassured that government subsidies are used to improve the quality of life of residents, not go into the pockets of providers.
Sarah Russell, Aged Care Matters