Which way is your vote going this Saturday? If you're voting for the party offering better aged care, it's difficult to work out who is offering more.
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
When one party announces something, the other appears to match it.
The bottom line is that both the Liberal and Labor parties are committed to introducing the 148 recommendations put forward by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality & Safety in 2019.
There are some slight differences around the timing of implementing some of the more costly recommendations. They relate to the minutes of care provided to residents in aged care homes and the availability of registered nurses in homes.
Aged care homes – minutes of care per resident per day
The 2019 Royal Commission request: By July 2022, at least 200 minutes (3.3 hours) of care a day for each resident, stepping up to 215 minutes per day by July 2024.
Liberal Party 2022 election promise: By October 2023, 200 minutes of care a day per resident.
Labor Party 2022 election promise: By October 2023, 200 minutes of care a day per resident rising to 215 minutes of care per day by October 2024.
Aged care homes – availability of registered nurses
The 2019 Royal Commission request: By July 2022, a registered nurse be on site in aged care homes for 16 hours per day, stepping up to 24/7 by July 2024.
Liberal Party 2022 election promise: By July 2024, 24/7 presence of a registered nurse.
Labor Party 2022 election promise: By July 2023, 24/7 presence of a registered nurse.
Where will we find those care workers and nurses for residential aged care?
The 2019 Royal Commission set the time limit of July 2024 for both the 215 minutes of care and the 24/7 presence of a registered nurses to give the government time to build up its care and nursing workforce.
Front line carers and nurses think we’re dreaming.
With hospitals now working at capacity as COVID-19 spreads freely, more nurses are needed in our hospital system to replace those who are exhausted by the sky-rocketing admissions brought on by COVID.
Back to basics
To bring more registered nurses and trained carers into the aged care workforce and keep them there, we need:
Better wages for aged care registered nurses and trained carers.
Training schemes and nursing education subsidies to boost numbers.
Better working conditions, including a national register of all trained aged care workers.
To attract the right people.
On wages, we await the decision of the Fair Work Commission. It is currently considering a Health Services Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation case to increase the pay of 200,000 aged care workers by 25%. Other stakeholders have made submissions requesting wage rises across the sector to attract and retain workers.
The current government has been working hard to attract people through free training carer programs and subsidised nursing education. The Labor Party platform mirrors these initiatives.
While this is all good, we need to attract the right people...
... those with a passion for caring for older Australians and not those seeking a visa or a ‘stop gap’ measure to fund entry into another career. Sparking that passion and retaining it is the big challenge for our next government!
One final point
If we look at the comparison table below, Labor appears to have an edge in taking its leadership on aged care seriously.
|Current Ministry||Current Shadow Ministry|
|Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP (retiring at this election, to be replaced by Sen the Hon Anne Rushton MP).||Shadow Minister for Health & Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler MP.|
|Minister for Aged Care & Senior Australians, Sen the Hon Richard Colbeck (who is also Minister for Sport).||Shadow Minister for Senior Australians & Aged Care Services, Claire O’Neil MP.|
|Shadow Assistant Minister for Health & Ageing, Geraldine Kearney MP.|
|Shadow Assistant Minister for Carers, Emma McBride MP.|
If you are seeking care for a loved, please don’t hesitate to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
 Liberal Plan for Aged Care & Labour Plan for Aged Care
 Liberal Aged Care Roll Out Plan & Labour Aged Care Roll Out Plan
 DR Care Solutions Article: Federal Budget 2021 - Spend Wisely To Build The Aged Care Workforce