WIN: Aged care assessment privatisation stopped

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has welcomed news that plans to privatise Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) have been scrapped, following a meeting of state and territory Health Ministers in Melbourne.

A COAG Health Council communiqué confirms:

“The Commonwealth has agreed to work with the States and Territories to have a consistent, uniform, efficient and integrated aged care assessment process that meets the needs of senior Australians and their families. The Commonwealth has confirmed that it is not proceeding with the current tender process. Over the longer term the Commonwealth will take advice from States and Territories and from the Royal Commission about what the exact delivery mix should be.” – COAG Health Council, 28 February 2020

Last year, the government announced it wanted to streamline aged care assessment arrangements and put the entire assessment service out to tender in 2020.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said today’s decision to scrap the tender process was sensible, in light of the widespread implications for the state’s public health sector.

“Privatising ACAT would have dramatically disrupted aged care assessments currently delivered by a skilled workforce of nurses, geriatricians, social workers and others,” said Mr Holmes.

“These nurses are employed in the public health system and have no commercial interests, instead they hold the interests of consumers as a top priority. This proposal would have jeopardised the employment of hundreds of skilled clinicians and destroyed decades of expertise.

“Consumers in need of aged care assessment support could potentially have been directed to a for-profit provider, who may not have been independent of the care provider.

“Fortunately, the NSW Health Minister recognised the privatisation plan was illogical and voiced his concerns publicly.

“Not only would the proposal have put additional pressure on our already overstretched public hospitals, it was also extremely pre-emptive of any outcomes of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which is still underway.”

Mr Holmes confirmed the NSWNMA would continue to monitor any new proposals regarding aged care assessment services and continue campaigning for staff staffing in aged care.

Download this release: Aged care assessment privatisation stopped

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