Labor plan to move from hospital to aged care

Labor wants to fast-track the creation of new aged-care facilities to get a growing list of 150 elderly West Australians languishing in the expensive hospital system into a suitable home

Under a policy to be announced by Opposition Leader Mark McGowan today, WA Labor would do an audit of government land and buildings and give away suitable assets free or cheaply to get projects moving.

He also vowed to reduce red tape for developers, claiming many were being hindered by local government planning schemes.

Mr McGowan said there were 3500 aged-care bed licences subsidised by the Commonwealth that were going begging because of a lack of facilities.

The average wait for seniors in hospital waiting to be transferred to an aged-care facility is 68 days.

Labor leader Mark McGowan. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

“At a cost of $1910 per patient per day, this is hardly the best use of taxpayers’ money,” Mr Mc-Gowan said. “It’s a big drain on our hospitals, which are a demoralising place for our elderly to be looked after for long periods.”

Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller said it supported the intent of the policy. “The longer you are (in hospitals), the more you are at risk of being exposed to infections, so it’s a good idea to get people who no longer need to be there out of acute-care facilities as soon as possible,” he said.

WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie said she was unaware of aged-care developers being hindered by local planning laws.

“We are very keen to hear the policy and to see how we can fit within it because we don’t want to be an impediment,” she said.

Acting Health Minister Mike Nahan said the State Government was procuring more aged-care beds.

“The Government’s continuous red-tape reduction campaign has expedited a range of planning approvals and actively targets bottlenecks, including local government processes,” he said.