The West

Uncertain times for aged care
Brightwater The Oaks Waikiki resident Claire Pember with clinical nurse Tracey Boetgger could face uncertainty in the future.

Rockingham and Mandurah’s aged care facilities face uncertainty after Commonwealth Government reforms came into effect last month with a reported $500 million funding cut to the sector nationwide.

A crisis meeting was held in Perth on Tuesday by Aged and Community Services WA to discuss the realities the sector was facing.

Brightwater Care Group is one of the not-for-profit groups which run aged care facilities in Rockingham and Mandurah and CEO Penny Flett said the resolutions which came out of the meeting looked at slowing down funding reviews to better equip the Government and the sector reach achievable aims.

‘‘Not for profit facilities will continue to operate for some time, however unless Government reverse their recent funding cuts to residential aged care, continuing to provide services the way we do now will be seriously threatened,’’ she said.

‘‘It will be the regional, rural and remote facilities that will be most in jeopardy — they tend to be smaller and their costs higher.’’

An estimated 11.8 per cent of the population of Rockingham was over the age of 65 in 2010 and with this number expected to grow, Ms Flett said it was worrying the Government was making such drastic cuts to funding for those who needed it most.

‘‘Residential aged care has already been subjected to years of decreasing funding, both operating and capital,’’ she said.

‘‘The most recent critical issue is the incredibly short notice the announcement of the funding changes for resident care was made.

‘‘It beggars belief that the Government expects organisations to run their facilities without the opportunity to prepare for financial changes of this magnitude.’’

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