The more than 1000 elderly Illawarra residents stuck in the queue for a home care package can’t wait until the end of a royal commission for a solution, says Whitlam MP Stephen Jones.
Mr Jones has welcomed the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which started in Adelaide on Monday, but said older residents need answers now.
“There are more than 1000 people in the Illawarra who are in the National Prioritisation Queue for home care packages,” he said.
“These people have been assessed as a priority, yet there’s no funding package available to provide those services they’re assessed as needing.
“For the individual, that means making decisions about whether they stay at home or look for residential care. For relatives it means deciding whether they can stay at work, or if they have to leave to care for their loved one.”
Mr Jones was sceptical over the Federal Government’s announcement on Sunday to fund an additional 10,000 home care packages.
“There’s about 108,000 people nationally assessed as needing a home care package … 10,000 packages barely make a dent in the list of those in need,” he said. “This announcement – one day before the royal commission starts – is too little, too late.”
Mr Jones said the year-long royal commission would look at the whole structure of aged care, the funding and financing arrangements, and whether existing regulations were being followed by providers adequately.
“There’s some excellent aged care providers in the Illawarra, and some who’ve been shown to be below par,” he said. “However even the high quality providers struggle to provide the service the community expects because of the funding issues.”