This article was written by King Tan
The Government is responding to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety with $17.7 billion of funding to improve the system. There is also significant spending in health-related measures including an additional $13.2 billion to support people with significant and permanent disability in the NDIS scheme and $2.3 billion for mental health care and suicide prevention.
Below is a summary of the key budget measures
The Government will commit $17.7 billion in targeted and new funding in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (the Royal Commission). The funding includes:
- $698.3 million over five years from 2021-21 on governance and regional access measures to improve the regulatory framework surrounding aged care and extend regional and Indigenous access to aged care;
- $7.5 billion over five years from 2020-21 on home care measures, with the most significant item being $6.5 billion over four years to release 80,000 additional home care packages over two years from 2021‑22, and greater support to respite care services
- $942 million over four years from 2021-22 on residential aged care quality and safety measures, including improving access to services, a new star rating and funding to reduce reliance on restraints;
- $7.8 billion over five years from 2020-21 on residential aged care services and sustainability measures, including $3.9 billion over four years from 2021‑22 to increase the amount of front line care and $3.2 billion to support aged care providers to deliver better care and services through a new Government‑funded Basic Daily Fee supplement; and
- $652.1 million over four years from 2021-22 on workforce measures, including growing and upskilling the workforce.
Supporting people with disability – National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- The Government has committed an additional $13.2 billion over four years to 2023-24 to ensure the NDIS continues to provide support to people with significant and permanent disability. The Government, along with the states and territories, is investing $122 billion in the NDIS over the next four years.
- $2.0 billion is allocated over four years from 2021‑22 for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, including initiatives to be progressed with states and territories for a new national agreement on mental health and suicide prevention, covering
- Prevention and early intervention measures, including digital mental health services:
- Suicide prevention measures, including expanding the availability of after-care services:
- Treatment measures, including expanding adult and youth mental health service centres;
- Supporting the vulnerable measures, including to provide support to Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities; and
- Workforce and governance
COVID 19 Response — guaranteeing Medicare and access to medicines
- The Government will build on the 2020-21 Budget measure COVID‑19 Response Package — guaranteeing Medicare and access to medicines by providing $879.0 million over two years from 2020‑21 to continue the health response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to support access to health care services and reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID‑19. Funding includes:
- $557.1 million to extend temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) pathology items for the testing and detection of COVID‑19
- $204.6 million for the extension of temporary telehealth MBS services from 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021, with revised billing arrangements from 1 July 2021
- $87.5 million to extend dedicated commonwealth respiratory clinics to manage and diagnose COVID‑19 cases.
COVID 19 Response — emergency response to COVID 19
- The Government will build on the 2020-21 Budget measure COVID‑19 Response Package — supporting our hospitals — continuation and COVID‑19 Response Package — guaranteeing Medicare and access to medicines — extension and the 2020‑21 MYEFO measure titled COVID‑19 Response Package — quarantine arrangements in the Northern Territory and Tasmania for people returning from overseas by providing $845.3 million over two years from 2020‑21 to support the Government's emergency response to COVID‑19. Funding includes:
- $487.0 million over two years from 2020‑21 to expand quarantine services in the Northern Territory. The cost of this measure will be partially recovered from people who quarantine at this facility
- $271.5 million in 2020‑21 to extend activities under the National Partnership on the COVID‑19 Response
- $86.8 million over two years from 2020‑21 to expand activities of the National Incident Centre and to support the National Medical Stockpile.
COVID 19 Response — vaccine purchases and rollout
- $1.9 billion is allocated over five years from 2020‑21 to distribute and administer COVID‑19 vaccines to residents of Australia. This builds on the 2020‑21 MYEFO measure titled COVID‑19 Response Package — vaccination and treatment.
Improving Access to Medicines — Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme new and amended Listings
- $878.7 million is allocated over five years from 2020‑21 for new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Stoma Appliance Scheme.
- $3.9 million is allocated in 2021‑22 to extend the Take Home Naloxone Program trial to make naloxone available for people who are at risk of an opioid overdose or adverse reaction and their carers, friends and family members in Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia until 30 June 2022.
- $480.9 million is allocated over five years from 2020‑21 to further improve access to primary health care services for all Australians, including through better integration of services. Funding includes:
- $288.5 million to provide access to Medicare subsidised repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the treatment of medication resistant major depressive disorder
- $71.9 million to extend the Primary Health Network After Hours Program for one year
- $50.7 million for systems to support the use of voluntary patient registration to improve the quality of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services through MyGP
- $12.7 million to support initiatives to improve health services for people with an intellectual disability.