Health officials face aged care inquiry

Health officials face aged care inquiry over poor access to health services

Aged Care Royal Commission
Professor Brendan Murphy is to testify before the aged care royal commission.

Professor Brendan Murphy is to testify before the aged care royal commission.

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Australia's chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy will appear at the hearing.

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SENIOR health department officials from across Australia will be grilled by a royal commission over poor access to health services for aged care residents.

Commonwealth health department secretary Glenys Beauchamp says data analysed by aged care royal commission staff tends to suggest there may be an issue with access to specialists.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Peter Gray QC puts it more strongly.

"There is very poor access to specialists and this needs urgent attention," Mr Gray said at the beginning of this week's hearing in Canberra.

Ms Beauchamp and Australia's chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy will appear at the hearing on Thursday.

Senior representatives from every state and territory health department will also give evidence.

Mr Gray said representatives of government health agencies in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia had agreed access to at least some health services by aged care recipients is inadequate.

The royal commission has been told there is a lack of access to GPs as well as specialists.

"There should be an expectation that residents have access to an array of specialists, comparable to the level of access that they would enjoy if they were community dwellers able to travel," the University of Queensland's Professor Len Gray said.

Thursday's witnesses include Prof Gray and Prof Leon Flicker from the University of Western Australia.

Senior health officials from NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia will appear on Thursday, while their counterparts from Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and Northern Territory give evidence on Friday.

Australian Associated Press

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