A senate inquiry into the future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce, released last month, found that the aged care workforce will need to grow by 2% every year to accommodate the increased demand for services. By 2055, the proportion of Australians over 65 will increase to 22.9 per cent (8.9 million) of the total population and the number of Australians receiving aged care is projected to increase by around 150 per cent over the next 40 years.
On top of an ageing population, the aged care sector has also experienced big changes recently, including an ageing workforce, increasingly complex health needs of people entering aged care, and the shift to care delivery at home to allow people to ‘age in place’ for longer. In addition, the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) adds to pressures on the aged care workforce, as the need for more staff grows across both the disability and aged care sectors.
All of these developments are placing significant pressure on the aged care workforce which is why the government has been under considerable pressure from industry groups, not for profits, and government funded agencies to develop a solution. The inquiry was undertaken to review the current frameworks under which aged care providers recruit, train and retain their workforce, and to anticipate the impact of changes to the aged care service sector.
The inquiry’s report made a total of 19 recommendations and will now develop an aged care workforce strategy taskforce to begin working on those recommendations. Some of the key objectives of the task force will involve further development of an agreed industry-wide career structures across the full range of aged care occupations and clear steps to address pay differentials between the aged care and other comparable sectors, including the disability and acute health care sectors.
They’ll also be working on mechanisms to rapidly address staff shortages and other factors impacting on the workloads and health and safety of aged care sector workers, with a particular focus on the needs of regional and remote workers, including accommodation and the development of a coordinated outreach campaign to promote the benefits of working in the aged care sector.
The inquiry also recommended that the government and the aged care workforce strategy taskforce develop a specific plan to support regional and remote aged care workers and service providers to access and deliver aged care training, including addressing issues of the quality of training, upskilling service delivery organisations to deliver in-house training and additional associated costs relating to regional and remotely located staff.
As an industry-leading provider of aged care qualifications, CHARLTON BROWN® is committed to ensuring our graduates are entering the workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to provide the world’s best care to older Australians. While we understand the work is only just beginning on creating a more effective aged care sector in Australia, we commend the government’s commitment to ensuring all elderly Australians are able to receive dignified care in their later years.