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Doctors and nurses call for urgent action to fix aged care

Doctors and nurses are calling for immediate action to reform aged care in Australia and ensure the elderly are being properly looked after.

The Australian Medical Association and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation are in Canberra calling for urgent reform.

Australian Medical Association president, Dr Tony Bartone, says governments can’t wait for the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to act.

“We need to ensure that our older Australians have the access to the same quality of life potential as any other elderly member of the community, especially at a time when they’re facing their most vulnerable and most challenging time of their life,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

The royal commission has been extended by six months, and now will not deliver its report until November 2020.

But Dr Bartone said many of the industry’s problems are already well known.

“What we’ve already clearly identified, by so many of the submissions, is that there is not a sufficient amount of healthcare professionals: doctors, nurses and other allied healthcare teams,” he said.

“There’s not enough of them and not enough funding to allow for them.

“We’ve got an enormous amount of infrastructure problems associated with aged care facilities, but even then the funding is setting up the providers to fail.

“We’ve seen stories about how much is spent on food; $6 a day on food for resident meals. It’s ridiculous in terms of both nutrition and safety, and quality.”

Dr Bartone called for immediate action to reform the sector.

“We have an enormous, devolving problem, we need to invest in our aged care system now, not in five or 10 years time,” he said.

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