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Aged and health care sectors urge more government pandemic help

Aged and health care leaders have urged an incoming Labor government to bolster support for the fight against COVID-19.

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration has called on Anthony Albanese to nominate reform of the virus-ravaged sector as a priority for his first 100 days in office.

The peak collective also wants its concerns to feature in any crossbench negotiations in coming days and weeks.

AACC member body Catholic Health Australia says its facilities need help meeting the extra costs of preventing COVID infection, which are not reimbursed by the Commonwealth unless there is an outbreak.

“Our members congratulate Anthony Albanese on his election and thank the coalition government and Scott Morrison for their public service,” CEO Pat Garcia said.

“There is always a long list of pressing issues that confront any incoming government but delivering quality compassionate care to our elderly must be right at the top.”

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia also moved to enlist Labor’s support for the role community chemists have played during the pandemic.

Acting national president Nick Panayiaris says pharmacists can play a bigger role in Australia’s vaccination rollout and alleviate pressure on the health system.

“We need to see pharmacists working to their full scope of practice,” he said.

“At present they are under-utilised and by allowing them to provide the full range of services they are trained for will help ease pressure on doctors, hospitals and emergency departments while keeping communities healthier.”

The early round of lobbying comes amid more than 38,000 new COVID-19 infections recorded across Australia on Sunday along with 20 virus-related deaths.

Almost 2800 patients are presently under hospital care around the country, over a hundred of them in ICUs.

Of nearly 380,000 active coronavirus cases Australia-wide, almost 80 per cent are in NSW (133,000), Western Australia (91,000) and Victoria (75,000). 

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of voters with the virus were able to vote by phone in Saturday’s federal election after the option was extended to them at the eleventh hour.

Initially, anyone stuck in isolation who tested positive before 6pm last Tuesday was limited to voting via post.

But many missed the application deadline to do so, and phone voting was then extended to those who tested positive after 6pm on May 13.

By John Kidman in Canberra

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