Infection control, mental health and allied health in aged care will get a $132 million boost from the Morrison Government in response to the aged care royal commission’s special report on COVID-19. Source: The Guardian.
Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck announced the funding last night.
But Labor has said the funding boost is too little too late and accused the Government of failing to conduct checks to ensure private providers have hired infection specialists and are allowing visitation of residents.
Despite Australia’s success suppressing the coronavirus, aged care has been a weak spot in the response, with 685 deaths in residential centres.
The $132.2 million package includes $63.3 million to access mental and allied health through Medicare, $57.8 million to help engage infection prevention experts in facilities and an extra $11.1m toward a serious incident response scheme.
The measures come on top of $450 million of emergency payments to providers to respond to COVID-19.
The aged care royal commission had called for the Government to require aged care centres to have one or more trained infection control officers as a condition of accreditation and to deploy more specialists for training and outbreak management.
It also warned that depression, anxiety, confusion, loneliness and suicide risk among aged care residents have increased since the pandemic, due to increased fear and isolation. The commission recommended “immediately” providing funding to facilitate visits.
Labor says ‘too little too late’ as government pledges $132m to aged care health (By Paul Karp, The Guardian)
‘Too little, too late’: Government accepts all recommendations from aged care COVID-19 report (By Rachel Clun, Sydney Morning Herald)