Aged Care Royal Commission raps Minister over the knuckles

Article published 28 January 2020

Aged Care Royal Commission raps Minister over the knuckles

AGED Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) and Regional Assessment Teams (RASs) assess people’s aged care needs and approve them for nursing home care or home care.

The Australian Government wants to privatise ACATs and RASs, something even aged care providers are not all that keen on.

This is what the Aged Care Minister was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald (30 December 2019) to have said: “…the reform was supported by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety”.

The Aged Care Royal Commission did not see it that way and said so in a public statement, in which it also reminded everyone, including the Aged Care Minister, that it operated independently from Government:

Public concern has been expressed about statements made by the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians that we had decided to support the privatisation of the Aged Care Assessment Teams in our Interim Report. I take this opportunity to make clear that the Interim Report did not endorse the Government’s stated position but noted that we would monitor with interest the implementation which the Government had announced.

The Aged Care Minister responded with a statement of his own:

The Government has consistently refuted claims that our intention is to privatise the assessment process for aged care. That assertion is incorrect.

(..)

The intention to undertake a tender has been public for more than a year with State and Territory officials consulted on a number of occasions.

States and Territories will be able to tender to provide the integrated assessment services.

The Royal Commission’s interim report does not offer or withhold support for the outsourcing of services provided by ACATs and RASs. All it said was that ACATs and RASs should be integrated. Nothing about tendering, outsourcing or privatisation.

The Aged Care Minister’s statement implying that the Royal Commission supports integration by means of outsourcing/privatisation was incorrect and misleading.

The NSW, Queensland and Victorian Health Ministers have come out against the Australian Government’s plan to outsource by tender the ACATs and RASs.

Full credit for generating the responses by the Royal Commission and the states’ Health Ministers to grassroots campaigners at Aged Care Crisis Inc, which raised the issue publicly.

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