Monday, March 4, 2024

Mildura council to abandon aged care services

Mildura Rural City Council has announced it will transition out of Aged and Disability home support services delivery by June next year.

Councillors formalised the decision at last night’s Ordinary Council Meeting, following a three-month consultation period with staff, clients and the wider community.

Feedback was collected through client and staff surveys, online and in-person community forums and through Council’s online engagement platform ‘Your Say’.

“Following this process, and further discussions with the Commonwealth and other providers, it was determined that due to the Commonwealth’s impending end to current Aged Care programs, and transition to a new model of care – Support at Home – it was not in the best interests of the community for Council to continue as an aged care provider,” Council said in a statement today.

“This is mainly due to the new Support at Home model being geared towards choice for clients, and to private business offering Aged and Disability services rather than local government.”

The Council said there will be no immediate change to service delivery.

Council is committed to seeing out its existing contract with the Commonwealth which ends in June 2023, it said.

“Some smaller home care program clients may transition sooner. No changes will occur until a transition plan is negotiated with the Commonwealth and State Governments.”

“Council will work closely with the State and Commonwealth Governments to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible for clients. This includes creating an Aged Care Service Navigator position to support customers and community through the first 12 months of the new Support at Home Program.”

It said more information regarding this process will be communicated as soon as possible.

Preliminary information from the Commonwealth indicates agencies will register as providers of Support at Home in a similar way agencies can register as a National Disability Insurance Scheme provider. Customers can then choose to receive services from an agency of their choice from mid-2023.

Mildura Mayor, Liam Wood thanked the community for their input into the consultation process.

“Through our consultation with staff, clients and the wider community, it’s been made clear that while a tough decision, this is the right decision for our community,” he said.

“Making this decision now, more than 12 months before the Commonwealth’s proposed shift to the new Support at Home model, ensures our valuable clients and dedicated staff will be as prepared as they can be.”

“Our goal now turns to continuity of care until our current contract ends in mid-2023, and ensuring a seamless transition to new service providers when the time comes.”

The Mayor acknowledged the professionalism shown by staff while consultation was carried out, thanking them for their continuing dedication to their more than 1500 clients.

“Through our consultation it has become clear that many of our staff wish to remain in the industry, and we have no doubt that with new providers coming online, there will be numerous employment opportunities created,” he said.

“We are committed to providing whatever support we can to both staff and clients over the coming 12 months as we prepare to transition clients to new providers.”

More information and regular updates will be shared online at yoursay.mildura.vic.gov.au/ADS-update as it becomes available.

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