Enough talk -- time for action on health and aged care: CHA

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) today called on the Federal Government to stop talking and start acting to reform health and aged care, after political leaders resolved to defer any decisions on health reform until next year.

At their meeting in Brisbane today, COAG failed to act decisively on health and aged care reform.

"We appreciate the level of consultation on health reform but today's Council of Australian Governments talkfest has not delivered what patients in hospitals and residents in aged care services need," CHA CEO Martin Laverty said.

CHA -- which represents providers who care for one in 10 Australians who receive aged care -- called for a single national aged care assessment process.

"Unwieldy and inconsistent legislation and regulation, and overlapping responsibilities between States and the Commonwealth, are delaying or even preventing timely access to aged care for many older Australians in need," Mr Laverty said.

"It's also leaving many older Australians living in hospitals while they wait for aged care -- a situation that is both inappropriate for them and impacts on hospital waiting lists.

"By simplifying and centralising the funding and assessment processes, the Federal Government could ensure quality aged care is available to all who need it, when they need it, with choice over where and how to receive care."

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and National Aged Care Alliance both have recommended that the Commonwealth fund aged care on the basis of entitlement, according to need as assessed by a federally-administered and controlled Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) program.

"Aged care in Australia must be reformed to maximise independence and place older people at the centre of a system that provides a choice of timely, accessible and affordable support and care services," Mr Laverty said.

"It makes sense to ensure there are a range of readily available support and care services that are linked seamlessly into the broader health system.

"The simplest way to do this is by introducing a national system of regulation, assessment and funding."

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