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AAQHC calls for quality management to be part of Federal budget’s health care boost

With a welcome and significant boost to healthcare funding in the recent Federal Budget, the Australasian Association for Quality in Health Care highlights the impact this will have on clinical governance roles and urges the Australian Government to include quality management support in their funding package. 

The impact on quality managers will be clearly felt in the aged care sector. New funding of $17.7 billion over 5 years includes a specific focus on increasing resident contact, and a consistent level of high quality care. These requirements will need efficient and effective governance systems that support management of risk and continuous improvement – funding should include training in quality and safety principles and practices and support for regulatory compliance. A similar commitment to quality management funding will be required to support the Home Care Package delivery.

We note the objective to upskill the existing workforce and providing training for thousands of new aged care workers, including 33,800 subsidised Vocational Education and Training places through JobTrainer. It is vital that this training includes elements on the principles and practices of quality and  safety as these principles underpin person centred care.

We also note the $301.3 million to address failures in care and increase the capability and capacity of the  independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, responsible for regulating the sector.  This will also need a complimentary investment in training for Boards, Executives and staff responsible for clinical governance oversight of quality and risk.  At present there is a gap between the knowledge skills and competencies of assessors and the quality managers who need to meet these increased compliance requirements.  The availability of free training on the standards, and evidence requirements is of paramount importance.

Two major investments we wish to highlight will help connect Australians to vital health services:

  • $630.2 million to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and special needs groups, as well as people living in regional, rural and remote communities access aged care services. This will include delivering upgrades to aged care infrastructure, and establishing an Indigenous workforce to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to better navigate aged and disability care.
  • $200.1 million to empower older Australians and their families to make more informed choices about the quality and safety of aged care, including a new Star Rating System on My Aged Care website; the Serious Incident Response Scheme extended to in-home care; and a trial of regional staff networks to provide face-to-face support for those navigating the

These moves are a positive step forward for the Australian health care system and particularly aim to protect the most vulnerable. We look forward to seeing a boost of quality and safety management roles across each healthcare setting, as these improvements are implemented.

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