Sunday, 8 May 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: Abbott shafted the frail aged in New South Wales, Turnbull ignores their predicament and now Baird has turned his back

The profits of aged care homes surged 40 per cent in the past year as operators cut hours of nursing care while claiming higher payments from the federal government for servicing more of the most frail patients. The earnings boom in the sector comes after the government introduced widespread reforms of aged care in 2014, including deregulating fees and lifting restrictions on the accommodation bond that nursing homes can levy on residents. [The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 January 2016]

In 2014 then Prime Minister Tony Abbott amended the C’wealth Aged Care Act 1997 with the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Act 2013.

The amendments impacted on the requirement under s104 of the NSW Public Health Act 2010 to have a registered nurse on duty at all times in a nursing home.  

The Baird Government initially grandfathered its Public Health Act until December 2015 and then awaited a report by the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 3’s parliamentary inquiry established on 25 June 2015.

On 29 October 2015 the Committee’s Final Report was tabled with the following recommendation:

On Friday 29 April 2016 at 3.15pm the NSW Baird Coalition Government responded to the Final Report’s 17 recommendations by washing its hands of any responsibility for staffing levels NSW nursing homes:

So three days before the 2016-17 federal budget details are revealed, possibly less than 32 days until the federal government enters caretaker mode ahead of a 2 July 2016 double dissolution federal election, and at the end of a working week, this Liberal-Nationals state government announces that it is very willing to place the lives of every frail aged resident in New South Wales nursing homes at significant risk.

Perhaps he and his government are hoping that the media will quickly lose interest and, that older voters and their families will forget that they will now be playing what could possibly be a cruel game of Russian roulette if they decide to spend their remaining years in aged care.

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