Bupa's Response to the Tune Report
Bupa welcomes Mr David Tune AO PSM’s independent report, Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017. We ask that reform to aged care is done in a bipartisan way. It's too important an issue to be politicised.
Bupa welcomes Mr David Tune AO PSM’s independent report, Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017, and the Government’s decision to consider its findings and recommendations as part of work being undertaken by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on ageing more broadly.
Today we ask that in considering this report, all politicians continue to approach aged care reform in a bipartisan way. The bipartisanship shown in 2013 was a key factor to the success of the Living Longer, Living Better reforms. Aged care is simply too important an issue to be politicised.
We note the government does not support recommendations 13 and 15 of the report and will not include the full value of the owner’s home in the means test for residential care, nor remove the annual and lifetime caps on means-tested fees.
We strongly encourage the government to consider at least increasing the capped value of the owner’s home in the means test (currently $162,087.20), and increasing the annual and lifetime caps. In doing so, this would be consistent with:
- the original Productivity Commission recommendation to move to market-driven aged care funding, where people who can afford it contribute to the cost of their personal care (while those who cannot afford it continue to be heavily subsidised); and
- recent research by the Council of the Ageing which found that consumers don’t mind if people are being asked to pay more if they have the capacity to afford it. But they do want more choice and a better-quality system.
Bupa recognises any changes to means testing and individual contributions are sensitive, but these options should be seriously considered as part of much needed national conversation on ageing and aged care, and how best to fund it.
Sustainable funding arrangements are needed to enable the delivery of quality care for residents that is centred on their needs - supporting their independence and allowing them to live their final years in comfort and with dignity and respect. It is also required to encourage long term investment in the sector, so that the projected growth in demand for aged care beds and workers can be met and to help the sector attract, upskill and retain a high quality aged care workforce – from geriatricians, to specialised GPs, nurses, care workers and other support staff.
The Tune report is particularly important because, while many changes made in 2013 have been positive for both consumers and the aged care sector, more work needs to be done to ensure Australia is well prepared to support our ageing population.
Just some of the challenges we need to address through ongoing reform include: elderly people are entering aged care with more complex care needs than ever before; we are facing an aged care workforce shortage; Government budgets are under increased strain; and the number of new beds needed to meet future demand continues to grow.
We need to avoid a situation like that of the United Kingdom, where ongoing reductions to aged care funding have resulted in approximately 25 per cent of acute care beds in hospitals being occupied by people with dementia and aged care facilities continue to close.
We look forward to working with policy makers, industry and consumers to prepare for the challenges associated with an ageing population so that we can deliver the best care outcomes for our oldest Australians. They need it and deserve it.