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More aged care facilities from WA Labor

Photo: WA Labor plans more aged care facilities
WA Labor wants to assess existing government buildings and assets to determine their suitability to be converted into aged care facilities.

WA Labor has promised to fast-track the establishment of additional aged care facilities to free up public hospital beds if it wins the March election.

Under the plan, government buildings and assets would be assessed to determine their suitability to be converted into aged care facilities.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said by identifying suitable land and removing existing planning and local government impediments, the supply available to the aged care sector would increase.

Mr McGowan said there were currently almost 150 elderly people waiting in public hospitals until an aged care spot could be found.
"The average wait for an elderly person in hospital to be transferred to an aged care bed is 68 days," he said.

"At a cost of approximately $1910 per day, this is hardly the best use of taxpayers' money."

Labor spokeswoman for seniors and ageing Margaret Quirk said the policy would make it easier for aged care providers to take up the 3500 aged care bed licences that were currently unused in WA.

The announcement comes after the launch of WA Labor's Putting Patients First policy, which includes purpose-built medihotels near hospitals for discharged patients who were still recovering and urgent care clinics to help take demand off hospitals.

But acting Health Minister Mike Nahan said the department was already well advanced in the procurement of additional aged care beds in Perth to relieve pressure on hospitals.

"The government's continuous red tape reduction campaign has expedited a range of planning approvals and actively targets bottlenecks, including local government processes," he said.

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