Greek aged care providers cautiously receive Rudd’s aged care proposal
The proposals by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in regards aged care were cautiously received by two major Greek aged care providers, Fronditha Care and the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney NSW.
Mr Rudd’s plan is part of the government’s hospital and health reform package, specifically pledges an additional 5000 aged care places.
His plan at a cost of $739 million over four years includes $32 million to establish one-stop-shops throughout Australia to help seniors and their families access information and assessment for aged care services; $300 million to provide low interest rate loans to support the development of 2,500 extra aged care places.
A key element of the proposals is that the Federal government will take over responsibility for all aged care services as of July 2012. Currently the burden is shared between the Commonwealth and States who provide services as part of the Home and Community Care programs.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement outlining the proposed aged care reforms is a significant step towards providing better care for our elderly,” CEO of Fronditha Care Penni Michael said.
“Unfortunately what is missing from the proposal is consideration of the issues of choice, access and sustainability,” she added.
Ms Michael explained that government funding does not compensate for the ever increasing cost of providing care each year thus rendering more difficult the provision of service at the same level. “For example, our costs go up by about 4 per cent each year, yet funding goes up around 2 per cent. This is simple mathematics; eventually we run out of money to deliver the same service and inevitably we look at ways to make it work.”
For Fronditha Care a major concern still lies with funding structures around Community Aged Care Packages which entitle elderly people to live at home while receiving aged care services.
“The Commonwealth has indicated its commitment to this program and more, much more, can be done to support our elderly to stay at home for as long as possible,” Ms Michael underscored.
The President of the Greek Community of Sydney NSW, Harry Danalis expressed pessimism that the lack of aged care places is so high that Mr Rudd’s proposals will not adequately address the problem.
He agreed with the CEO of Fronditha Care that aged care providers are faced with increased costs which are not matched by government funding.
Additionally, Mr Danalis highlighted that the government does not provide enough funding for the building of new aged care facilities.
“Mr Rudd’s plan is a positive initiative but it’s not enough,” Mr Danalis stressed.
(source: neos kosmos)
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