A comment made by DPS Guide to Aged Care’s chief executive, David Baker, was greeted with applause by more than 1,000 delegates at the National Aged Care Conference in Adelaide this week when he challenged a panel of peak aged care professionals about the federal government’s proposed My Aged Care website, expected to go live in July next year.
“Given that the DPS Guide to Aged Care’s website www.AgedCareGuide.com.au has the most aged care traffic in Australia – three times more than that of the federal government’s – what will the government do to attract more interest in the My Aged Care website?” Mr Baker (pictured) asked.
He added: “Could people be complaining about a lack of aged care information because they don’t have someone to assist them to understand it?”
His comment came during a question and answer session where panellists, which featured the Department of Health and Ageing’s Carolyn Smith, Australian Nursing Federation’s Lee Thomas, COTA chief executive, Ian Yates, and Catholic Health Australia’s Martin Laverty, were fronted with difficult questions by delegates, many of whom were aged care workers.
The federal government’s My Aged Care website, recently included in the federal budget, is part of the $198 million Aged Care Gateway.
In response to Mr Baker’s question, the Department of Health and Ageing’s Ms Smith replied: “I think those two questions are issues that are very much things we will need to explore as part of the government’s Aged Care Gateway.
“We know there are a variety of places people go to get information and we want My Aged Care to be a real accredited source of information and we’ll work with the sector as part of that process,” she added.
In May, Mr Baker stated informing and educating consumers about their choices was imperative, but the government’s efforts to do so with the My Aged Care website would unnecessarily be at the “costly expense of the taxpayer”.
“Essentially what the government will be doing is providing a service which is already being provided. Why would they want to duplicate information already out there and offered by the private sector – and available to the consumer at a fraction of the cost? It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Panellists at the National Aged Care Conference also discussed care delivery, the importance of finding and retaining young aged care workers, issues surrounding the involvement of GPs in the sector and the important role allied health professionals play in aged care.
During the panel’s discussions, COTA's Mr Yates confessed the sector had a “long way to go”.
“We have to design a sector which gives [consumers] the opportunity to be seen as players and not just as an object of the care,” he said.
If given the opportunity, what would you ask the Department of Health and Ageing? Share your questions and thoughts in the comment box below.