Posted on 29. Nov, 2012 in News

Nearly 200 aged care beds have closed and the first privatisation of an aged care facility in Victoria’s history has happened since the Baillieu Government took office two years ago, Shadow Ageing Minister Jenny Mikakos said today.

Departmental figures show that as at September 2012, public aged care beds across the state have steadily declined; with 179 less beds than when Mr Baillieu took office in 2010.

“Despite an ageing population, Mr Baillieu is providing fewer, not more, public aged care beds across Victoria”, Ms Mikakos said.

“There has been a steady decline in aged care beds since Mr Baillieu took office in 2010.

“The reduction in available aged care facilities has been driven in part by the recent closure of several regional providers, including Ballarat Health Services’ Jessie Gillett Court Hostel and Koroit Health Services’ Koroit Nursing Home.

“This comes on top of the recent closures at Melbourne Health’s Parkville Hostel and Western Health’s Hazeldean Nursing Home, as well as the loss of beds in many other regional communities.”

Ms Mikakos said at the same time the system was shedding beds, the Government quietly undertook to privatise an aged care facility in Rosebud, not seen since the Kennett Government.

“Recently Peninsula Health announced a buyer for the Rosebud Residential Aged Care Service, which marks the Government’s first major departure from publicly funded aged care,” she said.

“While there is a role for the private sector to play in aged care, Labor is concerned the Government may be getting ready to vacate aged care services altogether as foreshadowed in the secret Vertigan report.”

“The Baillieu Government has remained silent about its future plans for aged care whilst allowing the sector to contract over the past 24 months, despite Victoria’s ageing population.

“This comes on top of the Baillieu Government’s 2 per cent cut in home and community care hours, a program which has been successful at keeping people at home and out of the high care aged facilities.

“After just two years in office, Mr Baillieu’s legacy is becoming clear – there will be less aged care beds, more privatised facilities and less support to keep people in their homes, which will leave more seniors much worse off.”

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