Small aged-care providers such as Donnybrook’s Tuia Lodge face an uncertain future as Federal Government funding for new patients is slashed.
Under the Government’s new Living Longer, Living Better program, residential aged-care providers receive less funding for new patients than last year.
While funding for seniors who want to stay home longer will be increased, the funding for patients classified as low, medium and high care in nursing homes will be cut.
Tuia Lodge chairman Lui Tuia said the funding cuts represented a ‘‘very real threat’’ to small facilities.
‘‘We have never been as at risk as we are right now,’’ he said.
‘‘I have never seen such callousness from a Government in regards to aged care.’’
Under the new program, which came into effect on July 1, a frail, elderly person entering aged care will be given about $56 to $63 a day less than last financial year.
Mr Tuia estimated the cuts would mean Tuia Lodge, with 26 rooms, will lose about $85,000 of funding a year.
He said the lodge could be forced to put a $3.5 million redevelopment plan to add new rooms for an extra 14 residents on hold, but he would not be cutting staff because of the funding cut.
‘‘We simply can not trim any of our 29 staff, they are not paid enough as it is,’’ he said.
Forrest MHR Nola Marino raised the issue in Federal Parliament last week on behalf of the South West’s aged-care sector.
Mrs Marino said the program was an attempt by the Government to claw back $750 million from the sector over the next two and a half years.
Federal Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butle r said the Government’s residential aged care funding was increasing (because of a bigjumpin funding to care forthe elderly who stayed home longer).
‘‘Claims by Mrs Marino that this is a $750 million claw back are simply untrue,’’ he said.
‘‘This year’s subsidies will be $310 million more than last year.’’