Aged Care is a significant contributor to Australia’s rapidly growing health care and social assistance industry. The social and economic benefits derived go well beyond metropolitan locations into regional and rural communities. Operating residential, in-home and community-based care, and interfacing with services throughout the health system, disability and social supports, aged care is a $17-billion dollar industry.
At its heart resides an imperative to provide the best aged care services possible. With older Australians having increasingly complex needs, we need to see greater improvement in the coordination of funding across the system.
The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council is committed to building a workforce which underpins a better, more sustainable aged care system and continues to contribute to the economic growth of the sector. It will address issues around engagement, the casualisation of the workforce, gaps in capability and career progression, ensuring a workforce that can provide aged care services now and for the long term.
Acknowledgement of our people
Whilst we have continued to make progress on the strategic actions over the last four months since the February 2020 Communiqué, we have also seen regional and rural communities devastated by Bushfires and had the sector itself bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been an exceptionally difficult time for those who work in aged services as well as those receiving the services, their families and carers.
We would like to acknowledge and thank the front-line teams who have demonstrated incredible dedication during this critical time.
Aged care services workers are providing vital support to the community at a time when senior Australians are most at risk, stepping up to care for them, regardless of their own personal risk.
We acknowledge the Federal Government’s commitment to supporting the sector with the funding package provided offering much needed assistance to manage the urgent response required.
We also acknowledge those directly impacted by COVID-19 and their families and carers. The uncertainty and incredible pace at which the situation evolved in the early days of the pandemic was extremely difficult. Our thoughts go to those that have lost their lives to the virus, their families and carers and those that cared for them with great heart and compassion.
Program of change
As we shift from dealing with the impact of the pandemic, we look forward to the recovery phase, taking the learnings that have come from significant disruption, and focusing ahead to deliver lasting transformation across the industry. We have a significant program of change in place.
Appointment of Chief Executive Officer
We were delighted to announce the appointment of Louise O’Neill in early July as our inaugural Chief Executive Officer, who will lead this program of work over the next three years.
Louise’s extensive experience across disability, aged care, health, indigenous and the public sector will help us to connect in and create new networks that drive our transformation program.
Voluntary Industry Code of Practice
The Council has developed a critical path to engage its network on the Voluntary Industry Code of Practice – Strategic Action Two. A Matter of Care describes the vision of the Code as enabling industry to define its consumer promise, required standards, workforce practices and its commitment to quality and safety.
The Council is deeply committed to an Industry Code of Practice and sees its implementation as a priority. As well as defining a standard of care, the Code sets a benchmark and is an essential tool in unifying the sector, building trust and shifting the culture through collaboration.
We welcome the support of LASA in progressing the Code and are looking forward to engaging with all across the sector to bring the Code to fruition.
Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research (CGTR)
The establishment of the Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research (CGTR) is well underway with Proposals currently being sought to develop the model for the centre, which will be established by early 2021.
This work has been led by Council Director John McCallum who has been working in partnership with the Department of Health to support the Centre’s establishment.
In early May the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced a commitment of $34 million to establish the Growth and Translation Centre.
It will focus on new ways to deliver care for older Australians, including training and education for aged care providers and will draw on world’s best practice examples. The CGTR will receive Australian Government funding through to mid-2024.
Industry workforce study
Through a partnership with Best Practice Australia, the Council is undertaking the first industry workforce study. This study will provide in-depth data and insights into the culture of the sector, to inform and guide the implementation of the strategy.
The Council will release an annual written publication, supported by agreed industry benchmarks through a dynamic, interactive online capability. This will deliver immediate value to industry and government by providing industry-wide, time-series workforce data.
Industry approach to workforce planning
The Council is working towards delivering a report on best practice workforce planning for the aged care sector, with a project plan expected to be finalised in July 2020.
The adequacy of healthcare workforce data collection needs to be addressed as a priority, in order to have complete and accurate information concerning workforce trends and needs into the future. A standard approach to workforce planning allows providers to demonstrate the workforce is planned and the number and mix of staff deployed enables the delivery and management of safe, quality care.