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NACCF - Minutes of meeting - 9 April 2019

Agenda Item 1. Opening Remarks

The Chair welcomed members to the meeting of the National Aged and Community Care Forum (NACCF) and noted apologies from Mr Peter Lawley, Mr Graham Anderson, Mr Milton Kirk and Mr Nigel Murray.

The Chair welcomed Co-Chair Ms Gayle Anderson, First Assistant Secretary Client Engagement and Support Services Division, who will be Chairing future meetings.  The Chair acknowledged the importance of NACCF for veterans particularly when engaging with the Royal Commission into Aged Care.  The Chair advised that a review of the National Consultation Framework will be undertaken during the latter part of the year.

Agenda Item 2. Actions Arising

The minutes of the 30 October 2018 NACCF meeting were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.  Members agreed to close all action items.

Agenda Item 3. Chief Health Officer Update

Dr Firman provided an update on recent health activities and research.  Diabetes continues to be an important focus for the veteran community, specifically the prevention and management of the disease. Ongoing discussions are being held with the veteran community on the effects of taking anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine.  From 1 July, members were advised to encourage veterans who require further assistance to contact the dedicated DVA Support Team on 1800 MEFLOQUINE (1800 633 567) for support.  DVA and Defence are also conducting research that will build on the body of evidence already established in relation to the effects of anti-malarial medications.

Agenda Item 4. Improved Dental and Allied Health

Dr Firman updated members on the Government package of reforms to improve Dental and Allied Health arrangements announced in the 2018-19 Budget.  One of the components is the treatment cycle, which is being introduced to strengthen the communication and coordination between GPs and allied health services. From July 2019, the GP may refer a client for up to 12 sessions of allied health services if it’s clinically required.  This new referral method will apply to all DVA allied health services, excluding dental and optical services.  The client may undertake treatment for up to 12 sessions and at the end of the treatment cycle the allied health provider will report back to the GP. A client may have as many treatment cycles as are clinically required.

Agenda Item 5. Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce

Members were updated on the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017, which provides for and regulates access to voluntary assisted dying. From 19 June 2019, Victorians at the end of life who are suffering and who meet strict eligibility criteria will be able to request access to voluntary assisted dying. The Act followed two years of consultation and development, and reflects a balance between giving people choices at the end of their life and ensuring community safety.

Item Action Assigned to
2019/96 Provide members with a copy of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce presentation. Secretariat

Agenda Item 6. Presentation: Ageing: Arts and health

Professor Jane Davidson, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne, provided a presentation on current research into creative ageing and wellbeing and how it can transform the challenges associated with increased longevity, into opportunities for social and economic benefits. Engagement in creative arts offers a key to optimising older people’s wellbeing, productivity, mental and physical resilience, and value to society and the economy. Strong evidence is emerging that engagement in creative arts activities has protective, and even restorative impact on cognitive and physical wellbeing, and brain health.

Agenda Item 7. Department of Health Update

Members were updated on current Department of Health projects and initiatives including Implementation of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy and the Aged Care System Navigator 2018-19 Budget Initiative. Many Australians, including senior veterans and their families, have reported difficulty in finding their way through Australia’s complex aged care system. In response, the Government announced in the 2018-19 Budget that it would introduce a face to face service to assist and guide older Australians and their families to get the best outcomes from the aged care system, including outreach services to help older Australians make informed choices about their aged care needs.

Item Action Assigned to
2019/97 Mr Robert Day to attend a future meeting to provide members with an update on the Aged Care System Navigator 2018-19 Budget Initiative. Department of Health
2019/98 Provide members with the current figures on veterans in Aged Care. Department of Health

Agenda Item 8. Royal Commission into Aged Care

Members were updated in the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Safety (the Royal Commission). DVA expects to be involved in the Inquiry in relation to its funding of residential aged care for eligible DVA clients and the DVA programs that provide assistance to members of the veteran community in residential aged care settings and their own homes. Of these programs, the Veterans’ Home Care program is specifically referred to in the Royal Commission Terms of Reference. Other programs that may be in scope include the Community Nursing Program and the Rehabilitation Appliances Program.

DVA attended a pre-hearing Roundtable with the Royal Commission and other Commonwealth stakeholders on 27 November 2018 and provided preliminary information requested by the Royal Commission in late 2018. This information included reports of publically available reviews and details of 473 DVA stakeholder organisations with operations and interests relevant to the Terms of Reference.

DVA supports the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and looks forward to exploring future findings and recommendations to ensure veterans receive high quality aged care services in aged care facilities and in their own home.

Agenda Item 9. Productivity Commission

Members were briefed on the release of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans draft report. The report reinforces a commitment to putting the wellbeing of veterans and their families first, outlines the importance of a whole-of-life focus and acknowledges the key role families play. A strong theme from the public submissions received, indicated a consensus from the ex-service organisation (ESO) community to oppose the abolishment of DVA.

The Commission conducted public hearings in all capital cities as well as Townsville and Wagga Wagga. DVA appeared at the public hearing in Canberra on 12 February 2019, with public hearings concluding on 1 March 2019. A special meeting of the ESO Round Table was convened in January to discuss the draft report. The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and the Secretary also conducted a series of roundtables to hear veterans’ views directly.

Members noted the final report is expected to be provided to Government at the end of June 2019.

Agenda item 10. Other business

Ms Gayle Anderson, incoming Chair, thanked Mr Craig Orme, outgoing Chair, for his leadership and insight into the aged and community care system.

Meeting close

The Chair thanked all members for their attendance and participation. The meeting closed at 3.00pm. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 17 July 2019.

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