The Australian Medical Association has called on the federal government to make changes to the way aged care is delivered in lead up to the federal budget which is broadly supported by GPs.
The 11 recommendations are part of the AMA's Care Can't Wait campaign which estimates 27,569 admissions of residents from nursing homes to hospitals were potentially avoidable. This is estimated to have cost $312 million and 159,693 hospital patient days.
On this basis, the AMA estimate that $21.2 billion dollars could be saved over a four year period nationally if changes, like the 11 recommendations, were made to the aged care system.
The general thought is that providing better existing care within aged care homes would lessen the need to send residents to hospital.
Some of these recommendations include government investment of $643 million over four years to increase MBS rebates for GPs providing care in an aged care setting and government expenditure of $1.4 billion over four years to reduce the Home Care package waiting list to 5 per cent.
AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said "significant investment" in the aged care system would result in "significantly improved" wellbeing for older Australians in aged care.
"Proper medical care based on the needs of our older people is a basic human right and our broken system is failing them," Dr Khorshid said.
"We understand properly funding aged care will require significant investment, but this is an opportunity to also significantly improve the quality of life for older Australians while also realising substantial savings in other parts of the health system.
"Not enough nurses and limited access to GPs are behind the frequent transfer of older people in nursing homes to hospitals, often resulting in unnecessary prolonged stays."
The RACGP, which is the lead body for Australian GPs, is broadly supportive of the recommendations proposed by the AMA.
"GPs provide the majority of care to patients in aged care. Investing in GPs and improving the provision of general practice care and preventative health in aged care settings will help to keep these patients as healthy as possible and out of hospital," RACGP Tasmania chairman Dr Tim Jackson said.
Federal Bass MP Bridget Archer said there was "no doubt" in her mind more work was needed in the aged care system.
"There is no doubt in my mind that there is significant work to be done to improve the aged care report," she said.
"I look forward to the government response and hope to see the funding allocated in the upcoming budget."