Australia has to take responsibility to overcome its “cultural” problems around aged care, the federal health minister has said.
Greg Hunt has said a damning interim report from the Aged Care Royal Commission revealed a “national cultural issue”.
Mr Hunt told Insiders on the ABC, both the government and community needs to draw a “line in the sand” on ageism in Australian society.
“What the commission found, which went beyond anything that I had expected, was a national cultural issue,” Mr Hunt told Insiders.
Mr Hunt said the country had a challenge: to deal with an “ageist society”.
In its report released Thursday, the commission called for an overhaul of the system, labelling it a “cruel lottery” and a “shocking tale of neglect”.
It wants immediate action to cut home care waiting lists, stop the overuse of drugs to sedate residents and to stop younger people with di
sabilities living in aged care.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already promised more money for the sector before Christmas.
Mr Hunt wouldn’t elaborate on Sunday, but promised it would be a “significant” amount.
The health department has estimated about $2.5 billion was needed per year to address a 120,000 person long waiting list for home care packages.
There are waits as long as 22 months and older Australians dying before they had a chance to access them.
“It will be a significant package so I won’t pre-empt it,” Mr Hunt told ABC.
In terms of restricting the use of chemical and physical restraints on aged care residents, Mr Hunt said the government was working to make sure it had the “right response”.
The commission also wants aged care homes to publish data on their use of physical and chemical restraints.