Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to hold a forum at Newcastle on November 27

INQUIRY: Locals with a story to tell about aged care are being urged to have their say at the forum on November 27. Picture: Shutterstock
INQUIRY: Locals with a story to tell about aged care are being urged to have their say at the forum on November 27. Picture: Shutterstock

LAKE Macquarie and Central Coast residents will get the chance to have their voices heard when the royal commission into aged care holds a community forum in Newcastle this month.

Member for Shortland Pat Conroy welcomed the news.

"I am very pleased the commissioners inquiring into aged care quality and safety in Australia will hold a public forum in Newcastle," Mr Conroy said.

"I wrote to the commissioners in August, inviting them to hold a hearing here, and have continued to raise this important issue in Parliament and in the media."

The commission recently conducting hearings in Hobart and has already heard testimony in Mudgee, Melbourne, Brisbane, Mildura, Darwin, Cairns, Perth, Broome, Sydney and Adelaide.

In its interim report, the commission said a fundamental overhaul was needed of the aged care system and the way it was designed, funded and regulated.

The report also called for more support to help older Australians stay in their homes. It said large numbers of people regularly waited almost three years for a home care package.

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"I have been contacted by many older constituents and their families who have concerns about residential aged care and home care," Mr Conroy said.

Mr Conroy said Australians had been upset to hear some of the stories that had emerged about aged care.

"Some of the stories of neglect and abuse in residential aged care emerging from the royal commission are truly shocking," he said.

"And it is just as alarming to realise there are 120,000 older Australians waiting for care at home, some up to two years, and that 16,000 have died waiting."

The forum will be held at NEX @ Wests City (Newcastle Exhibition and Conference Centre), on King Street, Newcastle West, on Wednesday, November 27.

Mr Conroy said the forum would allow people in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-North Coast - "all of which have large aged and retirement populations" - to have their voices heard.

"Our older Australians deserve quality care. They must be treated with dignity and the concerns of their families and loved ones taken seriously," he said.

"I would urge anyone with a story to tell the Commission to attend the forum on Wednesday, November 27, from 9.30am to 12.30pm at NEX @ Wests City."

Details of the forum can be found here.

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