Catholic Health Australia has called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to dump the Howard Government's aged care system and commit to "a radical rewrite" of the aged care rules.
The urging to reform follows a "damning" Productivity Commission report on regulatory burdens in aged care, the organisation said in a media release.
"We've known for some time that older Australians are being adversely impacted by out of date aged care regulation. In some circumstances the system is constraining older Australians from easy access to quality care," CHA CEO Martin Laverty said.
"(The) Productivity Commission report has made it clear that out of date government regulation is to blame. The current Government must now commit to scrapping those rules that, in the words of the Productivity Commission, 'encroach on the rights of clients and their quality of life'."
CHA said the commission recommends removing the restriction on bonds as a source of funding, redesigning the accreditation visits program, increasing choice for aged care consumers by relaxing supply constraints in the provision of aged care services, and providing better information to older people and their families so they can make more meaningful comparisons in choosing an aged care service.
"CHA has been calling on the Government for some time to undertake the reforms that have now also been proposed by the Productivity Commission," Mr Laverty said.
"With independent experts such as the Productivity Commission now backing the case for change, we look forward to the Government outlining its own plans to ensure Australia has a sustainable aged care system able to provide quality care for all who need it."
The commission's recommendation that the Government should explore options for removing the regulatory restriction on bonds as a source of funding brings up the prospect of high care nursing home patients being required to pay accommodation bonds of more than $180,000, The Age reported.
Such bonds are currently restricted to residents of low care nursing homes, who are required to lodge repayable bonds now averaging $188,000, the newspaper said.
Major shake-up of aged care system needed (Catholic Health Australia)
aall to extend nursing home bonds (The Age)