MND Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s $17.7 billion dollar commitment to reform Aged Care and respond to the recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission, yet additional funding is needed to truly transform the sector.
“In particular, we are very pleased to see an additional 80,000 home care packages funded over the next two years,” said MND Australia CEO, David Ali.
“Delivery of these packages will go a long way to clearing the dire home care waiting list. However, it is imperative that this includes a large number of high-level packages, to meet the complex and rapidly progressing needs of older people with a disability like motor neurone disease (MND).”
“At this time there’s no indication from the Government on what proportion of the 80,000 packages will be at a high level. Eighty thousand level 1 or 2 packages aren’t going to do much to help older Australians with MND.”
“Currently, someone with MND could be approved for a level 4 package, but that doesn’t mean they receive that package level. They might be allocated an interim level 1 or 2 package while they wait for a level 4 to become available. The problem is, with a life-limiting disease like MND, people just don’t have time to wait, and many people die before they receive an appropriate level package.”
To coincide with the Budget 2021 announcement, the Australian Government has also released their response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
“We’re pleased to see that the Government has accepted, in principle, the Royal Commission’s recommendation that they clear the home care package waiting list and implement a maximum one month waiting period from approval to allocating a package, by 1 July 2024.”
The Government has also accepted the Royal Commission’s recommendation to introduce an assistive technology and home modifications category into the Aged Care system.
“Aged Care funding for assistive technology will provide a more sustainable system which is less reliant on MND Association fundraising efforts to continually fund their equipment loan scheme for people with MND. We now just have to wait and see exactly what that funding will be and how it will be implemented.”
“Although the Government has accepted 126 of the 148 recommendations of the Royal Commission, we were disappointed to see that the recommendation that older Australians should receive, through the aged care program, daily living supports and assistive technology equivalent to those available in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is still ‘subject to further consideration’. MND Australia has long argued for equitable access to disability services no matter a person’s age or postcode.”
“It is also important to note that, while the Government’s $17.7 billion investment over five years in Aged Care is a ‘once in a generation reform’, it still falls short of the estimated additional $10 billion a year needed to fully implement every recommendation from the Royal Commission.”
“We will continue to work with the Government to ensure that people living with MND, their carers and families have adequately funded and timely access to care and support to meet their needs to enable them live better for longer no matter their age or postcode, and also to diagnosis, clinical trials, technologies and therapies.”
To arrange an interview with MND Australia CEO, David Ali, or someone living with MND in the Aged Care system, please contact Morag Millington on 0431 981 046.