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Doctors and nurses must be heard in aged care reforms

The Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler, has established a high-level Aged Care Reform Implementation Council, to be chaired by Professor Peter Shergold, with the other members yet to be announced. The Council will provide half-year updates on progress in the implementation of the $3.7 billion aged care reform package, Living Longer. Living Better., announced in April.

15 Jul 2012

The Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler, has established a high-level Aged Care Reform Implementation Council, to be chaired by Professor Peter Shergold, with the other members yet to be announced.

The Council will provide half-year updates on progress in the implementation of the $3.7 billion aged care reform package, Living Longer. Living Better., announced in April.

The Minister will also set up a number of groups to “engage” the sector in the implementation of the aged care package, including a stakeholder reference group, a workforce advisory group and an Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has written to Mr Butler asking him to establish a specific forum for clinical providers in the aged care sector to advise both he and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek on the best options to better incorporate medical and nursing care in the aged care sector.

In his letter, Dr Hambleton highlighted that with a greater focus on home care in the Government’s aged care package, it will be very important that funding for medical and nursing services ensures older Australians have access to affordable, quality care.

Over the years, the AMA has found it difficult to get traction on higher Medicare rebates for medical care for the elderly in home-based environments because of the siloed approach to Medicare and aged care policy and funding. 

We have also worked hard to introduce efficiencies in providing medical care through improvements to infrastructure and workforce – chart-based prescribing, electronic records, clinical treatment rooms, GP video consultations to residents, more nurses to work with to better coordinate and manage patient care and improved access to allied health services. 

A clinical advisory group that brings together medical and nursing groups with the relevant areas of the Department of Health and Ageing would stand a chance of being able to consider these issues in a connected way. We hope the Minister understands his responsibility in this area and we look forward to a positive response from him.

In the meantime, the AMA is consulting with its members on their experiences in providing medical care to older Australians. The results of a confidential online survey will inform AMA policy and lobbying for medical services for older Australians. This survey repeats a survey undertaken in 2008 and will provide a unique snapshot of whether anything much has changed for our members in the past four years.

The survey only takes about five minutes to complete. Click here to complete the online survey. http://ama.com.au/node/7959 The survey closes on 27 July 2012.

Your participation will help your AMA to ensure medical practitioners are appropriately supported in providing medical care to the growing proportion of older Australians.

 


Published: 15 Jul 2012