Medicare is failing while our politicians turn a blind eye to the widespread and growing inequities facing those needing treatment. Out-of-pocket health costs running into thousands of dollars a year for families and seniors, lengthening delays for elective surgery and widespread disparities in access to doctors and other health professionals demonstrate the emergence of a two-tier health system: Full treatment for the well off and patchy care for the rest.
Catholic Health Australia Media Releases
The decision announced in today's Pre-Election Statement to introduce a national fees policy for the Home Support Program must not lead to reduced access to care by older Australians, and particularly the poorest and most frail members of that group, Catholic Health Australia has urged.
Treasurer Chris Bowen's announcement will allow millions of dollars in savings under the Home Support Program by requiring some older Australians to make greater contributions to their own care costs, and importantly ensure that people around the country with the same financial means contribute the same for their care services.
The release of analysis into the financial sustainability of aged care providers points to the need for aged care to play a key role in the 2013 federal election, according to the organisation representing one of the largest aged care networks in Australia.
An Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) report released today found 30 per cent of aged care providers failed to break even in the last year, which Catholic Health Australia's CEO Martin Laverty said underscored the need for a continuing focus on aged care reform.
Any reports of unacceptable care – or lack of care – for older Australians should be reported to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme immediately and investigated thoroughly, lest the aged care industry as a whole be tarnished by disturbing stories that appear in the media, the head of one of the nation's largest network of aged care providers has said.
Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty was responding to stories aired on ABC's Lateline program last night in which families shared stories of their loved ones' experiences in aged care facilities.
Rudd and Gillard Government health reforms have delivered no measurable improvements in national hospital performance, a conference of health experts will hear in Adelaide this morning.
The head of the nation's largest network of non-government hospitals and aged care services will argue both sides of politics must commit at the 2013 election to an overhaul of the 30-year-old Medicare system, in light of data showing average emergency department waiting times have improved only marginally and elective surgery waiting times have actually increased over the life of the Rudd and Gillard Governments.
Catholic Health Australia and Australian Catholic University this week awarded a round of eight grants of $2,500 each for professional development for nurses and midwives working in Catholic hospitals, reflecting a $20,000 investment in a program which was originally launched in 2011. The grants were established in response to the 2010 publication of the CHA Nurse and Midwifery Project report, which recommended a focus on providing professional development options for senior nurses and midwives.
Australian Catholic University dean of health sciences Professor Michelle Campbell said ACU understands the importance of nurses already in the workforce being able to learn new skills from other health care facilities.
Older Australians will wake up this morning with the knowledge that a big step forward has been taken in ensuring they will get the care they deserve – the result of many years of lobbying by the aged care sector, including Catholic Health Australia.
Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said it was encouraging to see many of his organisation's recommendations adopted through a series of amendments during debate in the Senate, including the establishment of a $6.9 million transitional fund to help aged care providers, especially smaller providers, during the rollout of reforms.
As aged care providers prepare for the implementation of the Living Longer Living Better reforms, they will take comfort from the Government's decision to make available transitional assistance to support providers during the reforms' rollout, as the Living Longer Living Better bills await passage in the Senate.
Catholic Health Australia had lobbied for the establishment of some form of assistance for providers, especially smaller providers, whom the Productivity Commission acknowledged in their report Caring for Older Australians could be negatively impacted by certain aspects of aged care reform.
While people around the country continue to focus on waiting lists in any discussion of health care in Australia, Catholic Health Australia says this morning's report from the COAG Reform Council reveals – once again – the great injustice of health inequity continues to grow in this country.
"The report Healthcare 2011–12: Comparing performance across Australia found its way into today's newspapers with the usual fascination with waiting list times leading the story," Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said.
Tonight's Budget largely insulated health from major cuts in spending and provided a welcome boost to cancer services, but it failed to plug gaps in public hospital funding – a gap that risks coming back to haunt the Government in the lead-up to the Federal election.
Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said Government efforts to fund important reforms in education and disability care could, in time, improve social determinants of health in a country that is currently burdened by unacceptable levels of health inequity. Thankfully, fears that funding those services could have resulted in larger health funding cuts have not been realised.