現時經營護老院者，定時要向聯邦政府提交報告，滿足所訂定的標準，才能獲得發牌，其實經營並不容易。各屆聯邦政府都設立不同的檢討長者服務的委員會，最近一次由 David Tune 領導的檢討，於2017 年底提交報告書，政策還沒有落實，2018 年十月，又成立了皇家委員會去檢討長者服務的質素及安全。可以說，長者服務確實是千瘡百孔，亟待改善。維州情況，正反映出一旦病毒進到護理院中，原來可以是沒有完整策略來面對。
Don’t pass the buck Premier and Prime Minister
Raymond Chow (Publisher)
The outbreak of covid-19 in Victorian elderly homes has uncovered black hole of who from the state and the federal governments should be responsible for the control of disease spreading inside the facilities?
Aged care facility administration including funding and licencing is part of the federal government’s policy but the daily operation like health and hygiene management is under the jurisdiction of the state government. So as covid-19 spread in those facilities, should it be the federal’s fault in the policy administration, or it is due to the state government’s problem of not taking good care of the hygiene operation? Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and PM Scott Morrison indeed are now passing the buck to the other party.
In Australia, the state governments formed much earlier than the federal government. At the time when the state governments were formed not much attention was given to aged care service. Until in recent decades the federal government allocated budget to come up with centralised policies and with monitoring to ensure consistent elderly services are provided across the states, but with no close operational control.
To sustain the funding and licence, service providers have to regularly submit up-to-standard reports to the federal government. Various review committees have been set up over the years in response to the many shortfalls and hiccups came across in elderly homes. While the report submitted in 2017 led by David Tune was still under consideration, another one was called in 2018 by the Royal Commission on the quality and safety issues. In Victoria, covid-19 spread in aged care hostels indeed demonstrated the inadequacy of the management policy in place.
We cannot allow politicians to shed their responsibility, with the federal Aged Care Minister unbelievably even unable to tell in Parliament how many elderly are dying from the virus! Does it mean the minister is so care free on the death of elderly or he is so incompetent to grasp the grave issue?
Every elderly has children and family. When elderly homes are not well protected from spread of diseases, their closed ones are bound to hold someone accountable whether it is the state or federal government. State Premiers and the Prime Minister must take on the responsibility seriously.