The market has failed aged care: study
A University of Melbourne study into Australia’s aged care system has found that increased competition has not improved the quality of care received by residents.
The study of aged care facilities around the country analysed data provided by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety from 2008-2020. The study found that the market had failed to improve the quality of care provided by aged care facilities, despite increased competition in some quarters.
It also found that increased competition did not result in lower fees for aged care residents.
The study also found that government-owned aged care facilities in most cases provided care of an equal or greater standard compared to private and not-for-profit facilities, despite lower fees.
The authors – Dr Ou Yang, Associate Professor Jongsay Yong, Professor Yuting Zhang and Professor Anthony Scott – concluded that the lack of transparency and public reporting in the sector has led to the system’s failure to self-regulate.
“As shown in our research, the sector hasn’t performed despite years of market-oriented reforms”, the authors indicated.
“Two key sources of market failures, the lack of public reporting of quality of care and price transparency, should be addressed as policy priorities before competition can work in residential aged care markets.”
The authors made a number of recommendations to fix the issues found in the report. These include price transparency, a system of public rating, and regular reporting of quality of care aiming at facilitating consumer choice.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, along with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, are campaigning for greater transparency within the aged care sector, in line with the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission. You can support our campaign here.