The new Federal Minister is in for a shock if she thinks an extra 2000 or so aged care beds can be produced by the stroke of a pen. I have worked in aged care in Cairns for about five years; there has never been such an urgent demand for aged care beds as now. I rang an aged care residential facility on Friday trying to get a bed for an 87 year old. I was told the waiting list was over 200. That is for one facility – there are about ten other facilities in Cairns all with similar waiting lists. 2000 beds are about what is required in Cairns alone. With the ageing population no long term plan has been put into place to care for our elderly. We don’t have enough aged care beds or the staff to care for our elderly either in residential care or home care. The crisis is affecting the health care system as a whole with hospital beds being taken up by the nations elderly while people requiring acute care are unable to find a bed.