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Aged care sector welcomes additional support but more will be needed

Date published: Friday 20 March 2020

Category(ies): Media release

An alliance of aged care industry bodies has welcomed additional support for the sector announced today by the Federal Government but says it falls short of what will be required to maintain all of the essential aged care services needed during COVID-19.

Our sector is at the frontline of a major public health crisis and the sector will soon make a joint proposal to the Government, outlining the further measures required to guarantee that care for older Australians does not suffer further through the pandemic.

The sector is already under significant financial distress that needs to be addressed.

A new report from StewartBrown shows that ongoing financial pressure now sees 56 per cent of residential care facilities operating at a loss.

The impact of COVID-19 is adding significantly more financial and operational pressure on providers as they do all they can to protect older Australians in care.

These financial risks are as real as the challenges faced by airlines, tourism and hospitality.

We are relieved that the Government has acknowledged the critical role aged care needs to play in response to COVID-19 and we are appreciative of the support provided so far.

This includes the Government recognising aged care workers are on the front line in response to COVID-19, protecting the most vulnerable.

We welcome the Government's recognition of aged care as an essential service, by giving our workers prioritised access to diagnostic testing if the need arises.

Providers of aged care services are focused on making sure that the older people in our care are well protected from the pandemic and are receiving the best quality of care.

Further aged care support measures will be needed so that the sector can maintain a sustained campaign to protect older Australians in care.