Even with a new government, funding for physio and allied health in nursing homes stops Oct 1st

How did we get to this? How is it even possible, even with a new Albanese government, that physio and allied health for older people won’t be funded?

This is still the most common reaction of shock when families or others find out about this. Sadly this has been coming for some time, and in a crowded media and political environment it was too far away for most to think it would actually happen. It is happening, despite the election result. Allied health will NOT be funded currently for older people post October 1st. At the time of writing straight after the election result where the Albanese government was elected, this is only 130 days away. Shocking. 130 days until older people in pain, not moving and having falls and hospitalisations won’t get the vital physio and allied health that they need.

Deathofagedcare

Background and the stop the #deathofalliedhealth campaign Phase 1 – October 2020 to 17th May 2022

Since October 2020 when we became aware that the new funding model proposed for aged care may not include allied health, AAC Health group including AAC Allied Aged Care, have been publicly campaigning to stop the #deathofalliedhealth in nursing homes from October 1st, 2022. This is because the previous Morrison government announced that the new funding model (the AN-ACC) would cease to provide any separate or mandated funding for physiotherapy and allied health. This means that nursing homes decide instead what allied health is needed and provided for residents, and are not required to meet any minimums for this.

We have been warning all the way through what this change would mean is that residents or their families/friends would in the vast majority of cases would have to pay for their physio and allied health needs. There was already an allied health workforce crisis, and COVID and the announced cut of funding worsened availability of physio and allied health further. The result is that even before October allied health hours are being cut all over the country right NOW. We’ve seen ourselves or heard from others already up to 30% or more in some cases.

AAC fully funded the campaign to stop the #deathofalliedhealth to bring more public awareness about what was at stake. Without physio and allied health our mums, dads and partners in nursing homes would be left with more pain, not moving, more falls and unfortunately preventable death. We managed to get considerable media coverage, gave public evidence in the Senate and QLD parliament, met with politicians and secured the support of the Australian Greens for our campaign, as well as 20,000 signatures on a petition that was lodged in person at the Senate by our CEO Alwyn Blayse on the 29th of March.

Senatepetitionlodgedjanetrice

Unfortunately despite our best efforts, both major parties went into the election not supporting allied health funding post October. This included Labor who ended up winning government on 21st of May. We are sure that allied health organisations will seek urgent meetings with the new government and we support their efforts to include allied health in nursing homes. However the position of our campaign is that it is too little too late. If Labor or others had wanted to do something about this issue they would have already. We can’t wait any longer for someone to do something.

As the deadline to October 1st gets closer, AAC are now launching the second phase of our campaign to stop the #deathofalliedhealth.

Phase 2 – 17th May 2022 to October 1st 2022 (and beyond)

The main objectives of the second phase of the campaign to stop the #deathofagedcare are:

  • Ensure that our mums, dads and partners are fully informed and have shown in writing that they have been aware of this change to funding.
  • Ensure that there is easily understood information of what options DO exist for physio and allied health now in the leadup to October 1st and afterwards, including options not available now.
  • Ensure that any allied health options include informed financial consent for alternative funding options if any are available and clear quotes on out of pocket costs.
  • Showing exactly the information to ask nursing homes what they will provide themselves in terms of university educated physio and allied health professional services and minutes of care (not counting exercise classes and allied health assistants/lifestyle co-ordinators minutes).
  • How anyone can make complaints to government agencies if they are not satisfied with the level of allied health they¬† or someone they know are receiving and able to access
  • Help save the jobs of the many physios and allied health working in aged care now (particularly those who are working on limited registration and visas) retrain and upskill and find alternative employment
  • Continuing to engage with stakeholders and media to show the reality of what this change to funding will lead to for residents in aged care.

So we could summarise this phase of the campaign as “Plan for the worst and expect the worst”. Of course all it takes is the newly elected Albanese government to put emergency funding into physio and allied health. They could do this at any time, or even just announce that they are looking at it.

However we can’t afford to wait. Older people and those who care for them know that physio and allied health are vital. We can’t take the chance that nursing home residents will go without and be in pain, fall, go to hospital and die. We need to start making arrangements NOW.

Will we keep fighting this? Of course! As we get closer to October 1st and beyond we will keep fighting for vital allied health to be provided for older people.¬† However we can’t wait for our campaign to win, or allied health organisations or government to get somewhere with this. At the time this is written just after the election result, its only 130 days to go until there is no funding for physio and OT in nursing homes. Its too late. We need to start making arrangements for allied health beyond October NOW.

What can you do? Keep informed and share this info on to anyone and everyone you can. Follow us on socials AAC Health group and Allied Aged Care. We’ll post updates on www.alliedagedcare.com.au/doac and our new website www.aachealthgroup.com.au also

As we enter into the second stage of our campaign, thank you for everyone who has supported us, and will continue to support us from here. Together with this plan, more than ever we believe we can stop the #deathofalliedhealth. But we can’t wait for others to do this. We need to focus on what we can do. Its too important not to.

Alwyn Blayse CEO AAC Health group and Allied Aged Care

Campaign Director Stop the #deathofalliedhealth

Uico Heading Element@2x

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