Hamilton Stone provided research, writing and editorial advice for the Aged Care Legislated Review.
The Aged Care Legislated Review, by David Tune AO PSM, was tabled in Parliament on 14 September 2017. The Review looked at the impact and effectiveness of the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Act 2013, and made 38 recommendations. Minister Ken Wyatt commented on the comprehensive recommendations of the Review. While the government has rejected two recommendations, it continues to work through the full report in the context of work under way by a taskforce in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In the lead up to the review, Hamilton Stone director Ian Holland provided an article for Australian Ageing Agenda explaining the implications for the sector of the legislative review of Australian aged care.
Aged care sector response
Response by the aged care sector was generally positive. The release of the report was welcomed by the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), which represents 50 peak national organisations in aged care. NACA said that the report detailed a number of important recommendations, and delivered a number of the outcomes outlined in NACA’s own Blueprint for Aged Care Reform. The report makes a number of recommendations, including re-balancing the distribution of home care packages, integration of the aged care assessment workforces, and more responsive education and training for the aged care sector. The report also recommends improving the My Aged Care website. The Council on the Ageing (COTA) also welcomed the Tune Review, saying its recommendations “will move us to the next level of reform”. Sector media coverage was extensive, see for example the article in The Aged Care Weekly, and in the Seniors Newspaper.
The Government indicated in December's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2017-18 that it will respond to further recommendations of the Carnell/Paterson Review and the Tune Legislated Review of Aged Care in the 2018–19 Budget. His keynote address on the future of aged care at CEDA on 2 March 2018 also foreshadowed further reforms in light of the Legislated Review of Aged Care, the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes and the announcement of a new Aged Care Workforce Taskforce.
Together with the subsequent Review of Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes - our second significant project in the aged care field - the Tune Review will further influence reforms in the sector.
We had written about this Review when it was first announced in October 2016. This is what we said then
The review of aged care reforms, required by legislation passed in 2013, is now underway. In late September, Minister Wyatt announced that David Tune will conduct the review. Tune is currently the Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee, which advises the Minister on aged care reform direction, meaning he has strong working relationships with many of the main aged care sector stakeholders.
The Department of Health set up a web page for the review, and called for written submissions. These are due by the 4th of December. It seems likely there will be consultations of some kind following written submissions.
Reactions to Tune's appointment and the commencement of the process have been positive, with major peaks including the Aged Care Guild, COTA, ACSA, LASA, and UnitingCare all indicating they welcomed the appointment of Tune and were keen to see the process underway.
Several of the peak groups have identified funding sustainability in general, and the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) in particular, as an issue to be addressed. This highlights a challenge for stakeholders, the review, and the government in addressing policy questions in effective ways. Labor has introduced a Bill into parliament that appears designed to get the legislated review to consider ACFI. However, private members bills on policy issues don't make it into law, and this will be no exception.
The government is currently in consultation with the sector about ACFI. It also has other review processes underway, such as ACFA's work on the bond guarantee scheme and funding for supported residents, as well as other internal reviews such as on aged care advocacy to which stakeholders will have input. The challenge for everyone is to keep a clear focus in each process, while trying to stitch the outcomes together to match some sort of strategic direction for the sector.
All of this is taking place with implementation of Increasing Choice in Home Care now only 20 weeks away. Busy times in aged care, for policy and practice.