Meals On Wheels Aims To Cut Red Tape

Meals on Wheels South Australia (MoWSA) has kicked off 2016 by suggesting two tape-cutting ideas that the State and Federal Governments should adopt this year.

CEO Sharyn Broer said the ideas put forward, which include introducing a volunteer card and reviewing the My Aged Care process, will make Meals on Wheels easier for both customers and volunteers.

Both State and Federal Governments have expressed commitments to cutting red tape. “Research says that red tape is a bugbear to many in the community,” Mrs Broer said.

Mrs Broer is this year calling on South Australia to introduce a simple card system that allows volunteers to more easily work across the multiple community roles many undertake each year.

“We encourage the State Government to look to other States that have a transferable card system in operation, with levels of clearance that make it easy for volunteers to volunteer,” she said.

The facts are, according to MoWSA:

  • The majority of people who volunteer do so for a number of organisations. For example, it is not unusual that in the course of a week, a volunteer might undertake a couple of shifts with Meals on Wheels, help out with Red Cross Telecross, work at the local op shop and sizzle sausages for their service club.
  • Most Government funding programs for services provided in the community to older people and those in need require volunteers to have a current police check. In most cases, a clearance is not transferable and may apply only to the issuing organisation, yet others are transferable. Confusing to all.
  • After processing some 6500 police checks this year alone, we at MoWSA see and hear the frustration felt by volunteers at having to repeatedly complete forms and confirm their identity for a police clearance each time they volunteer.

“Our State Government must resolve to work together to make it easier for volunteers to volunteer, in 2016 and beyond,” Mrs Broer said.

Meals on Wheels SA is also offering a simple suggestion to the Federal Government for 2016;

Repeal the unnecessary red tape and the extra layer of bureaucracy created between Meals on Wheels and prospective clients, by the My Aged Care Gateway.

From 1 July 2015, the direct and responsive pathway for people to receive delivered meals was disrupted and the responsibility for determining the person’s eligibility for government subsidised prices was given to another layer of bureaucracy, the My Aged Care Gateway.

“This has created confusion, lack of clarity for consumers, delays and frustration for potential clients, and their families. We know of recent cases where people have approached the Gateway only to wait 2 months for action,” Mrs Broer said.

“There is simply no need for another layer of bureaucracy on a simple service like delivered meals. Indeed the reclaimed responsibility for aged care within the health portfolio only reinforces the key issue: A delivered meal is first and foremost a primary health care matter, not an aged care one.

“The ability for the public to call Meals on Wheels direct, to make an enquiry, establish services and determine eligibility for subsidised pricing, was a sensible and cost effective arrangement for providers, the Australian government and the people who need this valuable community service.

“The great community value of Meals on Wheels is in keeping people healthy and independent in the community, and out of the aged care system.

“So, after 6 months of perseverance and continued frustration we ask the Federal Government to review the My Aged Care system. Ask these simple questions; Is this good value for delivered meals? Is it working? Or, is it simply an unnecessary road block to providing cost effective grass roots support to many in the community?”

Meals on Wheels SA (MoWSA) is the largest community-based volunteer organisation in South Australia, with a commitment to helping customers live independently in their homes.

With 88 branches located across the State, MoWSA has over 8000 volunteers working in a variety of roles. It delivers on average over 4300 meals each day.

Let’s acknowledge Meals on Wheels SA working towards making volunteering easier for those generously giving their time and for the customers.

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Alana Lowes
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