Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon addressed the Parliament today to express the importance of caring for our older Australians, in particular ensuring access to health practitioners in aged care facilities.
Despite our ageing population, worryingly General Practitioner (GP) visits to aged care facilities have declined 13 per cent in just three years.
Our GPs are busy, and visits to aged care facilities are time-consuming, both in getting there and once they arrive there, Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon said.
The care issues they encounter on those visits can be quite complex and, again, time-consuming. The monetary compensation they receive for visiting aged care facilities is less than that which they would receive if they saw patients in their own surgeries. And of course the Medicare rebate freeze has not helped.
Mr Fitzgibbon urged that the care and protection of the elderly should be a bipartisan matter and improvements should be made to ensure the wellbeing and living standards of aged Australians meet community expectations.
We must keep them safe and ensure that they have a decent place to live, can afford the essentials in life and have access to the health care they need to maintain quality of life for as long as is possible. I don't believe that we are succeeding sufficiently in those objectives, Mr Fitzgibbon said.
I don't believe our pension payments are sufficiently keeping pace with our cost of living. And it appears we are failing to ensure older Australians have access to the health care they need when they need it.
As Members of Parliament, we should always be mindful of the role older Australians have played in the development of our great nation. Many of them lived through the toughest of times to improve living standards for future generationsstandards we now enjoy today, as do our children.
The full speech transcript can be found here.