Ita says get on with the reform of aged care
06 June, 2012
Today Ita Buttrose, National President of Alzheimer’s Australia, spoke to 200 carers and 70 industry workers about the pressing need for aged care reform to be implemented in Australia
Ms Buttrose, who is the key note speaker at the Northside Community Forum biennial conference, said that it is encouraging that the government has committed to major reform.
“There are elements of the package that should have been more ambitious, such as expanding community care more quickly and, there are concerns about the sustainability of the funding model proposed for residential care services,” she said.
“We may not have accomplished all that many of us would like in the package announced on April 20, but let us not for one moment take our foot off the accelerator and lose the opportunity we have to force change in the system.
“The next step will be for all of the stakeholders, including consumers, to engage with the government in an implementation process that is transparent and leads to real changes and outcomes.”
Ms Buttrose said it was critical that the government get on with reforming a system which has been patched up over the last decade rather than fundamentally changed to better respond to the needs of older people.
“The current system is not working well for older people generally or for people with dementia. It is working even less well for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, indigenous people, people from rural and remote communities and for those from gay and lesbian communities,” she said.
“The message from our meetings with consumers across Australia is clear; people with dementia and their carers don’t know where to turn to receive services and support that will actually help them.
“For those with dementia there is a dramatic contrast between the experiences of those people who have benefited from timely diagnosis and care services and the overwhelming majority of those who were traumatised by poor diagnosis, lack of information and care services that had next to no understanding of dementia.”
Ms Buttrose acknowledged that the aged care reforms mark the beginning of a long and difficult process for change.
“And, in that process of change we are going to have to work as hard as ever to keep the government of the day honest in ensuring that aged care reforms put the consumer first and that the implementation of reform leads to services are flexible enough to respond to the needs of individuals.”
To download the opening address, click here.