UnitingCare Australia welcomes the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety handed down this afternoon.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Claerwen Little, said today, “We wish to acknowledge the enormous effort and dedication of the late Commissioner Tracey and Commissioner Briggs in producing this Report. We also thank the older Australians, families and carers who have told their stories.
“Sadly there is nothing surprising in the findings of the Interim Report. It highlights how despite the long history of efforts to improve the industry and visions of change coming out of more than 20 major reviews over 20 years, we have a system where outcomes are not fair for all.
“The report reinforces what is needed is comprehensive change. We join in the Commissioners’ call for systematic and cultural change. Australia has had too many selectively implemented responses from Government, based on politics rather than the best interests of the vulnerable individuals who depend on the system.
“The next stage of the Royal Commission will provide a rich opportunity to consider how services can be delivered in a way that is both affordable and meets community expectations. It is fundamental, however, that we all take on board what the Commissioners have said about the unconscious ageism that is widespread within our community.
“Ageism sees older people as a burden on society. It fails to recognise the inherent value of each person irrespective of their age or how they contribute.
“Ageism is reflected in the current aged care system by the assumption that it is acceptable for older people to wait for needed care and support. It is also inherent in funding for the highest levels of care only being available to people willing to be isolated in, or from, their communities.” said Ms Little.
UnitingCare Australia has developed its own report ‘Ageing to our full potential – preparing for an older Australia’ in which we outline our vision for a future aged care system that is sustainable and puts the rights of the individual first. A copy of this report has been provided to the Royal Commission.
“For some people in Australia, there is systemic disadvantage in access to services due to remoteness, language, technology, literacy, culture, socio-economic status, cognitive capacity, cultural identity, disability and other barriers. Members of marginalised communities already experience disadvantage, which generally becomes progressively worse as they age.
“This is our opportunity to pull together. As a country we can afford to invest in ensuring that every Australian can live to their full potential,” concluded Ms Little.