Government’s report card on aged care spending is in…

Jan 20, 2021
The Productivity Commission provides the public with an evaluation of how well the spending has been going. Source: Getty.

A government-run Productivity Commission report has been released to give Australians a better insight into the aged care services sector. The public report card essentially provides taxpayers with the exact figures of where their money is being spent in the industry, as well as an in-depth look into how successfully the government has delivered important services to the community.

The current report is evaluating the 2019/2020 figures. Since then, it’s worth noting that the government has increased spending by $1 billion in the home care sector, of which $850,000 paid for 10,000 additional home care packages (HCP) and the remainder went to improving the aged care sector’s response to Covid-19. This is on top of the $1.6 billion that was included in October’s budget.

With that in mind, here’s the numbers that matter on how the government spent taxpayers’ money to care for older Australians in 2019-20:

  • 65 years-plus – How the Productivity Commission defines an ‘older person’, unless they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island, for whom ‘older’ means 50-64 years old.
  • 80 – The percentage of older Australians who will access some form of government-funded care service before they die.
  • 21-23 – The approximate percentage of the Australian population that is expected to be aged 65-plus in 2066, up from 15 per cent in 2017.
  • 21.5 billion – The amount the government spent on aged care services, which was equivalent to $5,063 per older person. Of this, majority (63.4 per cent) went to residential aged care while home care and home support services accounted for much of the remainder.
  • 98.5 – The percentage of funding provided by the federal government with state and territory governments covering the remainder.
  • 829,193 – The number of Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) clients nationally, or 195.2 older clients per 1,000 older people.
  • 171,797 – The number of Home Care Package (HCP) clients nationally, or 40.4 older clients per 1,000 older people.
  • 238,778 – The number of older people in permanent care, or 56.2 per 1,000 older people.
  • 65,709 – The number of older people in respite care, or 15.5 per 1,000 older people.
  • 28.5 – The percentage of full-time equivalent direct care staff at aged care homes who were either nurses or allied health professionals, down from 31.8 per cent in 2012.
  • 6 – The median number of months older people with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) approval, who were ready to move into home care within three months had to wait for a Level 1 package.
  • 28 – The median number months older people with an ACAT approval who were ready to move into home care within three months had to wait for a Level 4 package.
  • 34 – The percentage of older people in 2018 living in households and in need of assistance who reported that their needs were not being fully met.
  • 9.4 – The number of ‘patient days’ out of every 1,000 patient days that older people requiring aged care used while waiting in hospital for transfer to residential aged care. (Patient days is the Australian standard of measurement for the time a patient has use of a hospital bed, that’s used to calculate use of services and associated costs.)
  • 71.2 – The percentage of people 65 and over who required or received formal services in the previous six months who were satisfied with the range of services available. This was down from 2015 but similar to 2012.
  • 84.4 – The percentage of people aged over 65 who received formal services in the previous six months who were satisfied with the quality of assistance they received. This was down from 2015 and 2012.
  • 8,539 – The total number of complaints received about aged care services.
  • 6,335 – The number of complaints for residential care services (permanent and respite), which equated to 33.4 complaints per 1,000 residents. This is up from 30.4 and 23.1 complaints per 1,000 residents in 2018-19 and 2017-18 respectively.

Do you think the government's spending was reasonable? Are you happy with the outcomes?

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