Town of Cambridge freezes new referrals for home and community care services

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE Town of Cambridge is not accepting new referrals for home and community care (HACC) services while they look for a specialist provider to take over.

Expressions of interest have opened for a July 1 handover, with the Town stating they will continue to provide high quality service to current Cambridge Senior Services clients in areas including respite, social support, meals at home and domestic assistance.

Cambridge joins a number of local governments transitioning out of HACC service delivery, including Fremantle and Subiaco, after the State and Commonwealth governments’ decision to switch sole responsibility for the service to the Commonwealth.

WA will be the last state to join the Commonwealth Home Support Program, which is designed to provide a standardised program across the nation.

Cambridge community development director and acting chief executive Cam Robbins said under the new system, the Town would need to compete with specialist service providers, and a FAQ document for clients said there was also uncertainty about funding levels.

“The Town would be unable to compete in a financially effective manner against organisations that deliver community care services as their core business in to the future,” Mr Robbins said.

“[Cambridge] would prefer one provider to take over the entire HACC service delivery and the staff and volunteers currently providing those services.”

UWA Business School professor David Gilchrist said there was a general drive for the Commonwealth government to take more responsibility for high cost services like HACC.

“My wariness about the handover relates to the ability of states to ensure services are delivered at the coalface; states are closer to the community than the Commonwealth can be,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt we’ll see changes. One would hope as the Commonwealth takes over, there’s a focus to seniors needs on the ground.

“My concern would be that seniors who access these services might not see the same staff they’ve seen for some time, they might not get the services the way and at the time they’re used to, and often with transitions things change in the delivery of service.”

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