Oakeshott calls for end to Aged Care waits | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper

Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott today called for aged care wait times to be a major strategic focus for the next parliament and not simply a pre-election sweetener.

“The recently announced funding package for aged care is welcomed, but this government has presided over more than doubling of wait times1 between approval and entry to residential care.

“The average wait time from assessment to access to residential and home care is now close to six months, and this doesn’t allow for the initial wait for the assessment team’s visit and report writing.

“Aged care is a particularly acute problem on the Mid North Coast. While nationally people 65 and over account for 15% of the population, on the Mid North Coast they account for 23%.

“There are some terrible local statistics. Kempsey is one example, in the middle of the Cowper electorate. In a recent survey over 37% of older people in Kempsey reported finding it hard or very hard to access aged care services in general. Over 45% found it hard to access care packages4.

“Wait times and difficulty in accessing services affect entire families and communities who feel the stress and burden of inappropriate care for loved ones.

“I am also concerned about depression amongst older Australians. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently reported that 47% of all aged care recipients suffered from depression. This requires much greater consideration in our models of care nationally and on the Mid North Coast.

“The current Government’s $662 million pre-election promise follows their $1.2 billion [SH2]in “efficiencies” previously removed. This flip-flopping, dependent on the election cycle, fails to demonstrate genuine care for older Australians and lacks the strategic, long-term thinking our ageing population demands.

“The Royal Commission into Aged Care will provide valuable recommendations, but we will need strong leadership to drive meaningful change in this sector. If elected I will work with other MPs to keep wait times for and access to Aged Care services reasonable and in focus all the time, not simply when an election is around the corner."


Median Elapsed time between approval and entry into Residential care in NSW

SOURCE: Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, Admissions into Aged Care