Catholic Health wants more support for aged care bed construction
Responding to yesterday's withdrawal of permission for the construction of high-care beds, Catholic Health Australia has called for better licence allocation procedures, together with more action to support the construction of high-care beds.
Yesterday Ageing Minister Kevin Andrews announced the revoking of almost 70 outstanding residential aged care bed licences following an investigation of 2816 `phantom beds'.
Mr Andrews had asked the Department to investigate beds which were allocated more than two years ago and have not been made operational. The investigation found there were 101 outstanding allocations.
Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan said: "In most instances there are legitimate reasons why construction is impeded such as a lack of resolution of local government regulations."
He said the availability of affordable capital funding is essential to the maintaining constuction programs for high-care beds.
"Aged care beds, particularly high care beds, are in high demand and are expensive to build. Construction costs range from $70,000 a bed upwards depending on geographic location," he said.
Mr Sullivan added that high-care beds do not attract sufficient revenue to justify their construction, and the government "needs to directly assist with construction where facilities predominantly provide high-care services".
"In its budget submission, CHA has advocated for a capital loans scheme, which would give providers access to interest-free funds to provide new beds within two years of approval," he said. "The Minister's initiative will have better impact if accompanied by a sound capital development program."
Aged Care Beds Revoked (Media Release, Minister for Ageing)
3 Apr 2002