Aged-Care Assessments

6 February 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (12:18): Before asking that the motion be taken as formal, I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Siewert will sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senator Siewert, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

   (i) with deep concern, the Government's decision to privatise aged care assessments from April 2021 with a tender to be held this year, and

   (ii) the Government's decision was not made in consultation with State Health Ministers;

(b) recognises that there are eighty aged care assessment teams (ACAT) operating across the nation which include state-employed multi-disciplinary teams of nurses, geriatricians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers who work at public hospitals, to expertly assess the more complex level of care required by individual elderly Australians;

(c) further notes the recent statement by the Chair of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on ACAT privatisation that:

   (i) the Royal Commission's Interim Report did not endorse the Government's position on privatising ACAT, and

   (ii) the Commission has not yet made a recommendation about which sector or mechanism will best achieve an integration of Regional Assessment Services and the Aged Care Assessment Teams;

(d) acknowledges that:

   (i) health experts argue that no private providers can offer the expertise to adequately assess the often complex needs of hundreds of thousands of elderly Australians, and

   (ii) outsourcing assessment teams would have a serious detrimental impact on the delivery of proper care; and

(e) calls on the Federal Government to consult with the state health ministers on the issue of ACAT privatisation, as a matter of urgency.

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