Recently, it was announced that Lithgow Aged Care (LAC) would not be re-accredited after April. This organisation has no relationship to Lithgow Council, but the Council is deeply concerned about the residents and the staff of the facility.
Mayor Ray Thompson stated “Council received no forewarning of this decision, or the threat of it, from either LAC or the Australian Government.”
“We are exceptionally disappointed in this because we are now scrambling to have Lithgow Aged Care and the Australian Government fully appreciate the dire consequences of this decision for this city’s wellbeing.”
Over the past 18 months Lithgow has experienced multiple natural disasters, including drought, flooding and most notably bushfire. Covid has greatly impacted the city as well.
The Mayor said: “Council is most grateful for the assistance that has been provided by both levels of government and good headway is being made, but recovery will take a long time. Quite frankly, the city cannot readily endure the trauma that this decision will unleash.”
“It must be recognised that the 73 current residents in LAC are at the apex of our community. They have families and relationships that run broadly and deeply across the community.” Stated the Mayor and continued on to say “Equally, behind each of the many hardworking employees there are families who will be affected by this decision.”
In the short time since this news broke, Council have been trying to achieve a different outcome. The objectives of Council are to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of the residents is maintained now and going forward, the residents are housed close to their established support networks in Lithgow, and that the employees retain their jobs and entitlements.
The Mayor added “It has become abundantly clear that LAC requires urgent and sustained improvement. The staff on the ground are diligent but the available Performance Reports point to substantial reform being needed to improve clinical, commercial, governance and management performance. Council urge the LAC Board and management and the Australian Government to take all actions available to bring about these improvements whilst retaining the residents and the employees in this city. If that requires something in the form of an aged care expert administrator then that must occur.”
Already, there is an undersupply of aged care and accommodation services within the city. If this aged care facility ceases operating then it is foreseen that this important social infrastructure lost to the city for a long period of time, unless the Government works with the community to overcome this.
The Mayor closed with “Rural communities can not accede to the social fabric being ripped out of their towns. Lithgow cannot accept this.”