Before jumping into another expensive royal commission, it would have been prudent for Scott Morrison to review the numerous inquiries that both LNP and ALP governments have initiated over the past decade. Surely the government didn’t need Four Corners to inform them that the aged care sector is a national disgrace.
The federal government announced its $17.7 billion aged care budget with bells and whistles. Peak bodies for providers described it as a “big win for older people”. However, it is aged care providers, not older people, who have won.
Lynelle Briggs, one of the aged care royal commissioners has recommended that the federal Health Department be the major “service delivery agency” of the reforms the aged care sector so desperately needs. In the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Briggs states: “The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care will need to step up to the requirements of a major hands-on service delivery agency if it is to lead and guide the aged care sector effectively through the reforms we recommend.”
The department simply does not have the capacity to be a “hands-on service delivery agency”. Its expertise is outsourcing.
The royal commission report should give the Australian government a plan to fix aged care. Will they act on it?
The royal commission enabled older people and families to tell their stories. A 105-year-old woman living in an aged care home was the oldest witness to give evidence. Hearing firsthand accounts has illustrated the failures in the aged care system.
The royal commission also released 20 research papers. This research will enable an evidence-based approach to aged care policy. For far too long, aged care policy has been based on opinion.
On February 26, the commissioners will release their final report. The counsel assisting’s 124 recommendations provide a glimmer of hope that the final report will outline a plan to fix aged care. But will the government act on the recommendations?