Opinion

Murchison’s aged care home saved but what about the rest?

By Shepparton News

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum's announcement that Murchison's nursing home will not be closed will be welcomed — and celebrated — by the community.

“DP Jones is staying open, end of story,” Mr Drum said.

But the question remains, what will happen to other providers that are struggling?

This week it was announced almost 200 nursing homes with about 50,000 residents are operating at an unacceptably high risk of insolvency.

Will the Federal Government step in and save them from closing too?

And if they don't, will they be expected to?

According to The Australian, Leading Age Services Australia says an accounting study of all residential aged care centres shows the assets of 197 providers would fall short of enabling them to pay their current liabilities, excluding refundable accommodation deposits.

LASA chief executive Sean Rooney told The Australian the scale of the risk was "alarming for residents, their families, staff, providers and the government".

He said the figures revealed the dire situation facing many services, and the LASA was calling for a $1.3 billion government injection.

We know the Aged Care Financing Authority reported earlier in the year that 67 per cent of regional aged care providers were making financial losses.

We also know the Victorian Government pays $300 a day to look after a prisoner, while Shepparton Villages chief executive Kerri Rivett says she gets $230 to spend per day per patient. Ms Rivett said it was "pure ageism".

Yes, the government's move to keep Murchison open is promising. But it also sets a precedent.

And it is yet another reminder that aged care must be properly funded before more providers find themselves in the same situation.

And we know from what Murchison has been through in the past month, we must do all that we can to stop that from happening.