Join the fight for our senior citizens
Published on 04 October 2023
Local businessman Doug Coff is urging locals to write to Government Ministers about the aged care crisis facing Broken Hill.
Between 20-30 aged care beds are constantly vacant in local aged care centres due to legislative changes which have significantly increased demands on staff and also resulted in the requirement of a registered nurse to be on-site 24/7.
The lack of aged care beds also placed pressure on our hospital system, with 10 hospital beds recently occupied by elderly locals who could not be transferred into aged care.
This increased pressure on the hospital is resulting in aged care patients being sent from the local hospital to Wilcannia, and patients unable to be transferred home to Broken Hill from Adelaide for acute care.
The situation is reminiscent of the aged care crisis Broken Hill faced in 2011 which saw elderly locals shunted to care centres hundreds of kilometres away from their friends and families.
At the September Council meeting, Mr Coff addressed Council and the gallery and said his own mother was almost transferred to Wilcannia recently, before the transfer was halted at the last minute.
Council voted to demand that the Federal Government immediately reclassify Broken Hill’s aged care services under the Modified Monash Model from MM3 to MM6 (remote).
The change in classification would allow greater staffing flexibility and improved financial support for aged care services, and also bring the city in line with its National Disability Insurance Scheme classification of MM6.
However Mr Coff has urged all locals to take up the fight and write to Government officials to stress the urgency of the situation Broken Hill is facing.
Those wishing to write to Ministers about the issue can do so using the details below, with a template letter provided by Mr Coff for residents’ convenience.
Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton: email@example.com
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister for Aged Care and Sport, Anika Wells: Anika.Wells.MP@aph.gov.au
Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Anne Ruston: email@example.com
Member for Barwon, Roy Butler: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
[City, State, Post Code]
Dear [Mr./Ms./Dr. Member of Parliament's Last Name],
I hope this correspondence finds you well. I am writing to request your support and advocacy in addressing a pressing issue that concerns our community's elderly population and the broader healthcare system in our region. Specifically, I would like to discuss the reclassification of our local aged care facility, Southern Cross Homes, under the Modified Monash Method from its current level 3 to a level 6.
As you are undoubtedly aware, Broken Hill is a unique and isolated rural town in our region, characterized by its strong sense of community and the challenges that come with its remote location. The nearest major capital city is Adelaide which is 500km away. The nearest towns are Wilcannia, 200km, Wentworth, 250km, and Mildura at 300km. The toll, both physical and financials, on families traveling these distanced to visit loved ones is significant.
One of the most significant challenges we currently face is the rapidly aging population of our town. The demographic shift has placed considerable pressure on our local healthcare infrastructure, particularly our hospital, which is struggling to cope with the increasing demand for aged care services.
Southern Cross Homes, our dedicated aged care facility, has been an essential pillar of our community for many years. However, the recent changes in aged care legislation have created a complex situation. While we have 40 vacant beds in the facility, we are unable to accept new clients due to the facility's current level 3 classification. This mismatch between available capacity and the needs of our community is a source of great concern.
Reclassifying Southern Cross Homes to a level 6 under the Modified Monash Method is not only justified but also imperative for several reasons:
1. Addressing the Aging Population: Broken Hill's aging population requires increased access to quality aged care services. A level 6 classification would enable Southern Cross Homes to expand its services and provide much-needed care to our elderly residents.
2. Relieving Pressure on the Hospital: By offering more comprehensive aged care services, we can alleviate the pressure on our local hospital, allowing it to focus on acute medical care and emergency services.
3. Utilizing Vacant Beds: Southern Cross Homes currently has 40 vacant beds that can be immediately used to cater to the needs of our elderly citizens, ensuring that they receive the care and support they deserve.
4. Economic and Social Benefits: A reclassification to level 6 will not only improve healthcare in our community but also create job opportunities and stimulate the local economy.
I kindly request your assistance in advocating for the reclassification of Southern Cross Homes to a level 6 under the Modified Monash Method. This change will have a profound impact on the well-being of our aging population and the overall healthcare system in Broken Hill.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter further with you or your office, and I am open to providing any additional information that may be helpful in understanding the urgency of this request. Together, we can ensure that our beloved community receives the local care and support it deserves.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and dedication to serving our community. I look forward to your positive response and action on this critical issue.