Aged care places rise while states cut hospital beds
The Australian Hospital Statistics 2003-04 report has been released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
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27 May 2005
A new report released today has again put paid to the myth perpetuated by state and territory governments that older people waiting for an aged care place are responsible for the blow out in public hospital waiting lists.
The report, Australian Hospital Statistics 2003-04, released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, shows there were 50,915 available public acute hospital beds in 2003-04, 2,500 fewer than in 1996-97.
During this period Australian Government-funded aged care places increased by 32 per cent, an extra 44,543 places, while State hospital bed numbers fell by almost five per cent.
Since 2003-04 the Australian Government has built on this by allocating a further 11,795 new aged care places.
Since 1996 the Australian Government has initiated the fastest growth in aged care places ever achieved in Australia. By 2007-08 we will have allocated more than 95,200 new aged care places since coming to office, compared with the 10,000 aged care place shortage the Auditor General found was left by the former Labor Government.
This new report builds on the findings of a report by Professor Len Grey in the Medical Journal of Australia last November, Trends in the use of hospital beds by older people in Australia: 1993-2002, which found that the proportion of hospital beds occupied by older Australians remained stable during this decade, while Australia’s aged population grew by 18 per cent.
The Australian Government is working to realise its vision for a world class system of aged care that provides high quality, affordable and accessible services to meet the individual needs and choices of older Australians.
State and territory governments should stop trying to blame older people for their cuts to public hospital beds.
Media contact: Rachael Thompson 0417 265 289
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