The federal government has abandoned its plan to put Aged Care Assessment Teams to tender, after it was slammed by the royal commissioners, state governments and even its own MP.
A Council of Australian Governments health council communique stated, “The Commonwealth has confirmed that it is not proceeding with the current tender process.”
The government said it will now take advice from states and territories and the royal commission about the “exact delivery mix”.
Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors, Julie Collins, said “vulnerable older Australians” would have been “impacted” by the previously proposed changes.
The change of heart follows comments by Minister for Health Greg Hunt earlier in the day at a COAG meeting of health ministers that his government would be “revisiting” the tender and it was “unlikely to proceed”.
Plan was ill conceived
Ms Collins said, “The Morrison Government must now give a clear assurance that this important work will continue to be done by experienced and well-qualified assessors in conjunction with the states and territories.”
“The Morrison Government’s aged care privatisation plan was ill conceived from the beginning,” Ms Collins said.
Plan slammed by royal commissioners and government’s own MP
Ever since the plan was progressed just before Christmas it has attracted intense criticism.
In January, the Aged Care Royal Commissioners issued a public correction to the Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck’s claim they supported the plan to privatise aged care assessments.
“I take this opportunity to make clear that the Interim Report did not endorse the government’s stated position but noted that we would monitor with interest the implementation which the Government had announced,” wrote Commissioner Pagone.
Earlier this week, the government’s own MP, Russell Broadbent, slammed the plan, saying neither David Tune nor the royal commission had said ACAT services should be contracted out.
“I’ve been in situations… where areas have been contracted out, and there is a great loss of experience that is extended to people,” he said in a speech.
Ms Collins said, “It made no sense to privatise these assessments before the final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission is released in November.”