Information in relation to the report from the Aged Care Royal Commission

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The Royal Commission report has been released and whilst recent events in the Federal Parliament have taken over the media, we have seen a significant amount of press about the neglect in aged care and the broken system. We anticipate you will continue to hear many of the tragic and awful stories presented to the Royal Commission in the media over the coming weeks. It may well stir up strong feelings within you and our communities. We also understand when you hear these stories your thoughts turn to MACS and the care we provide.

It is definitely distressing to the MACS staff and Volunteers who give so much as they care for our Residents each and every day. We ask that as they care for your loved ones, you also take a moment to care for them, they are working under difficult circumstances and at times meeting family expectations can be challenging.

As an organisation we need to brace and absorb this turbulent time. In order to affect the deep systemic changes and the support needed for a sustainable high-quality system for the future, we need the dissonance to be felt by the broader community. This will keep it in the public eye and give greater political will to respond. Pease talk to your local Federal politician member and sign the petition at https://www.careaboutagedcare.org.au/

As much as the Directors would like to, now is not the time for us to defend what we do, rather strengthen the call for improvements to ensure that older Australians are able to access the care they want and need in the future. It is irrefutable that our workforce has been under-resourced for many years, with wages indexation falling far behind funding increases. Evidence put before the Royal Commission is clear, we have been working in a constraint model designed to contain costs and meet the federal budget. It is time you all understand the system and its shortfalls and with public pressure the government responds.
The Final Report is a comprehensive five-volume roadmap to fundamental reform of the aged care system, critiquing the current system and putting forth 148 recommendations for transformation over a five-year period. These recommendations are detailed and thorough, spanning all key touchpoints of aged care, the highlights of which include:

System Design and Governance

• A new Act, centred on a universal entitlement for high quality and safe care to older people, based on need and not rationed.
• An integrated system for long term support and care of older people combining CHSP, home care and residential aged care.
• A System Governor to provide leadership, and an Inspector-General to investigate systemic issues

Quality and Safety
• A plan to deliver high quality care including standard setting, graded assessments, and star rating.
• Clear the prioritisation list in home care by December 2021.
• Increased access to medicine reviews.
• A single comprehensive assessment by an independent assessor of providers, with entry into system supported by care finders.

Aged Care Accommodation
Construction design principles for aged care accommodation, with a focus on small house design.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
Specific arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with ATSI pathways and a new ATSI Commissioner.

Regional, Rural and Remote
Equitable access for regional, rural and remote communities to aged care services, with access to telehealth and specialists, and continuation of MPS services.

Better Access to Health Care
• Establish a senior dental benefit scheme.
• A new primary health care model, and improved transition between aged care and health.

Younger People in Residential Aged Care
Timetable for arrangements to ensure younger people do not enter or remain in residential aged care by 2022-25 progressively.

Aged Care Workforce
• A workforce strategy to professionalise the workforce, a National Registration scheme for personal care workers, and a minimum Certificate 3 qualification for personal care workers.
• Collaboration between Unions, Government and providers to vary sector wages, with remuneration to reflect work value.
• The Pricing Authority should take into account need to attract staff and remuneration levels.
• A minimum quality and safety standard for staff time in residential aged care, including appropriate skills mix and daily minimum staff time for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers for each resident, and at least one registered nurse on site at all times.
• Reporting of staffing hours.

Governance
• Improved governance arrangements around complaints, serious incident reporting, and new prudential requirements.
• Wider enforcement powers to the quality regulator.

Funding & Finance
• An independent Pricing Authority to determine the cost of high-quality care.
• Amendments to indexing arrangements for both Residential aged care and home care.
• A $10 fee increase per resident per day of basic daily fee in residential care.
• In-home care maximum funding to equal residential care.
• Continuing the 30% viability supplement in residential aged care.

If you would like more detailed information on the Report and its findings please visit https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/final-report
Directors over the coming months will be reviewing in detail the Royal Commission Report and we trust that in the May Federal budget there will be a significant boost to aged care funding.

Kind regards,

Joy Leggo
Chief Executive Officer

Spiro Fatouros
Board Chair

11 March 2021

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