Aged care providers losing $670 million a year helping the most vulnerable, CEO Mike Baird tells Sky News

Mike Baird HammondCare CEO Sky NewsHammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird says there is an urgent need for more funding in the May Federal Budget to help aged care providers meet an average $10 per day per resident loss.

Mr Baird, speaking with Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell, said the present funding arrangements were not sufficient to meet the estimated $670 million a year shortfall in the sector providing residential care.

“You have across the whole sector – there are 3000 providers – on average in residential care losses of $10 a day per resident. Now that is not sustainable.

"When you add in that what the community wants is more care, better care, the numbers really start to add up."

In addition to this, there was an undeniable need to pay aged care workers more – and this cost would need to be met too.

“One of the things I have seen in this role [is] I am just in awe of what our care workers do,” he said, “and I think as a society we just have not valued them."

Mr Baird said in the interview, which was broadcast on the AM Agenda show on Sunday 24 January, that providers should expect to be more efficient in providing care. There would be an expectation of improved transparency and accountability in forthcoming reforms arising from the Aged Care Royal Commission.

He anticipated the Federal Government would increase funding in the May Budget, but this would only be the beginning of the long-term ongoing process of meeting the sector’s needs.

Mr Baird, who backed the Federal Government’s handling of COVID-19, said there appeared to be in government a “deep commitment to a significant change, a generational change, for the most vulnerable who are our elderly”.

In the interview, Mr Baird also revealed details of how HammondCare Wahroonga avoided a COVID-19 outbreak before Christmas as the Northern Beaches cluster emerged.

He said HammondCare General Manager Angela Raguz made a decision to move early on increased infection control measures including requiring all visitors to wear face masks at Wahroonga due to the facility’s proximity to Wahroonga.

“As it happened, a day later someone from the outbreak who had COVID-19 came to the facility, but they had the face masks on; there had been appropriate infection procedures and it was not transmitted.

“That’s good management reflective of experience but I am not going to pretend we are perfect - there is luck involved as well. Experience matters.”

Mr Baird ruled out speculation he would enter Federal Parliament by nominating for Liberal Party pre-selection for Warringah, now held by independent Zali Steggall.

“No I am not running and I won’t be running."

He said he was focused on his role running HammondCare, which he described as an incredible opportunity.

“I have never been more excited in my life. It’s an unbelievable privilege."

Watch the interview on Sky News here