Tuesday, 25 August 2020
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: Aged Care
My question is to the Prime Minister. Is it correct, as the aged-care royal commission heard, that Australia has 'one of the highest rates in the world of residential aged-care deaths as a proportion of deaths from COVID-19'?
I'll ask the Minister for Health to add to this answer. What we know is that, because Australia has been so successful in ensuring that fatalities resulting from COVID-19 more broadly across the population, then clearly those in residential aged-care facilities, who are the most vulnerable, are going to have a higher proportion. The only figure I need to point you to to demonstrate that is that in New Zealand that rate is even higher, at over 70 per cent. And I don't think anyone in this House would be suggesting that in New Zealand, as opposed to Australia, they have had a worse experience or they have had a less-prepared arrangement than we have here in Australia. So, if the member opposite wants to make that allegation, we've made this point very clear to the royal commission. The evidence provided by the secretary of Health was very clear that that was a use of statistics which was highly misleading, and for the member to repeat it here in this place I don't think reflects well on her understanding of these issues. But I'll ask the Minister for Health to add to that.
I'm very happy to add to the answer from the Prime Minister. The international data comparison has built on what was provided to the royal commission. The percentage of lives lost amongst those in residential aged care in Australia—one life lost would have been a tragedy in any country—is, sadly, 0.18 per cent. In Canada it is 1.5 per cent, or over six times or 600 per cent of the Australia figure. In France it is 2.4 per cent, or over 1,300 per cent of the Australian figure. In Spain it is 2.5 per cent, or just over 1,300 per cent of the Australian figure. In Ireland it is 3.2 per cent, or 1,600 per cent of the Australian figure. In Italy it is 3.2 per cent, or 1,600 per cent of the Australian figure. In Austria it is 4.9 per cent of all aged-care residents who have passed away, or approximately 2,800 per cent of the Australian figure. In the United Kingdom it is 16,598 residents that have passed away, which is approximately 5.3 per cent of all residents in aged-care facilities, approximately 3,000 per cent of the Australian figure.