Investigate unacceptable aged care and improve palliative care

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.

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Medicare is broken, despite Rudd and Gillard health reforms

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.

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CHA, ACU award $20,000 in grants for professional development

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.

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Aged care reform passage good news for older Australians

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.

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CHA welcomes transitional assistance for aged care providers

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.

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Let's talk about health inequity, not just waiting lists

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. 

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Health spending largely spared surgeon's knife

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.

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CHA chair appointed to Vatican health committee

Catholic Health Australia Stewardship Board chair Rowena McNally has been named a board director of the International Committee of Catholic Health Care Institutions, joining Catholic health leaders from around the globe on the Vatican-appointed body.

The appointment of Ms McNally, who has been CHA's chair since August 2012, was announced last week, just two weeks after the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, visited Australia. He spent time at a number of Catholic hospitals and aged care facilities during his 11-day visit.

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Aged care legislation must pass, but success of Compact in doubt

A survey of aged care providers reveals one in five will not sign up to the Government's Aged Care Workforce Compact, and a further one in five are unlikely to sign up, putting success of Government plans to tie aged care funding to workplace industrial conditions in doubt.

Catholic providers of 4,318 residential aged care places and 3,327 home care packages responded to the Catholic Health Australia (CHA) survey this month, following the Government's release of details of the Aged Care Workforce Compact.

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Senate recommendations must prompt action on social determinants

Two of the largest organisations representing non-government agencies in Australia are calling on politicians across Commonwealth, state and territory governments to implement the recommendations contained in the Senate Community Affairs Committee's report on action on the social determinants of health.

Catholic Health Australia and UnitingCare Australia this morning said their organisations have a long tradition of working to ensure people who are vulnerable, marginalised or living in poverty receive the support they need and deserve. In many cases, those people are susceptible to long-term and chronic health conditions, and governments have a duty to help Australians avoid such circumstances.

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