A GYMPIE woman who gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Aged Care yesterday described access to a crucial government aged care service hub My Aged Care as "almost hopeless."

Rita Kersnovske gave direct evidence via videolink from Gympie in a round of hearings that started this week in Adelaide focusing on home care and the community.

The Gympie woman's answers highlighted the delays she had experienced in accessing the government service online and via telephone with wait times up to one hour.

A lack of contact had so far hindered a home assessment for the Gympie woman that would allow her to stay in her own home.

Mrs Kersnovske told the commission her last contact with My Aged Care had been more than a month ago where she was told her doctor had not provided enough information to complete the home assessment.

She described contacting the government service online or by telephone as hopeless.

"Some days you'll get a message to say they're not online at the moment and some days you'll get so far and then you can't get any further," Mrs Kersnovske said.

"It's just hopeless so I hang on the phone for sometimes an hour waiting for someone to answer.

"I can understand a lot of older people not understanding why they have to wait so long. Some of them get confused."

She said the service would have to be improved to allow older people to be able to access it.

The My Aged Care website details the provider's services as "prompt, reliable and confidential" and promises a "prompt resolution of any complaint or concern you have with My Aged Care."

Commissioner Mr Richard Tracey AM RFD QC yesterday highlighted the importance of Mrs Kersnovske's evidence.

"It's very important for us to understand the way the system works in practice in the community and in your case in particular in a rural community," he told Mrs Kersnovske.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was announced in October last year and has so far heard evidence from families, medical experts, aged care bodies and unions.

The next round of Commission hearings will be held in Sydney focusing on residential care, including, in particular, quality and safety and dementia.

A final report is to be delivered by April 2020.

Gympie Times


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