House debates

Monday, 24 August 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Aged Care

3:10 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | Hansard source

All right. If they're not interested, I'll keep going. They can choose or not choose to listen on the topic of the aged-care response in Victoria. Critically, what we set out in January was that, in order to save and protect lives, we had to prevent community transmission. We knew that, from around the world, this is a disease that can affect the elderly. Although any Australian and any person around the world can be subject to it, it's the elderly, in particular, who we have seen to be the most susceptible. Wherever there is community transmission, there has been, in every place, a significant impact on our elderly. And that was why we closed the borders on 1 February. That's why we worked through the six stages of our national plan for the protection of the elderly against COVID, beginning with the national plan in January, which the Prime Minister set out, and the CDNA aged-care plan on 13 March, and all of the other phases.

Most significantly, as part of the mass community outbreak in Victoria, we set up the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre as a joint partnership with the Victorian government. That, in particular, has seen over 448 residents transferred from aged-care homes to public and private hospitals. Under the plan, a public hospitals agreement was established back in March, a private hospitals agreement was established back in March and there was $100 million for an aged-care surge workforce. In addition to that, as part of that surge workforce plan, 17,000 shifts were filled by recruitment and 2,300 shifts were filled by Healthcare Australia. By AUSMAT, 69 residential aged-care facilities were visited. Defence had 40 clinicians, 34 officers embedded and 100 officers deployed as part of the field. We've seen the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission visit 83 centres. We've seen, most significantly, 13 hot facilities reduced to three, as of this morning's briefing with the Prime Minister. So, yes, there has been tragedy and there's more work to do, but what these people have done is work together to potentially save thousands of lives in a crisis which has ravaged one state but where the rest of the nation has been protected.


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