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Review into regulations in Australian aged care needed now more than ever

The recently announced review of the Commonwealth’s aged care quality regulatory process may be needed now more than ever, following reports of new allegations against another South Australian care facility. 

Australian aged care quality regulatory processes are under review (Source:Shutterstock)
Australian aged care quality regulatory processes are under review (Source:Shutterstock)

Private aged care provider Bennett Aged Care Group is now in the spotlight for alleged issues with care within the group’s Valley View facility, which was recently audited by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA), resulting in a revoke of their accreditation.

The published report of the Valley View facility by AACQA from their audit conducted on May 26, 2017 – June 5, 2017 states that the aged care facility ‘met 30 of the 44 expected outcomes of the Accreditation Standards’.

Following their score and the categories recorded as ‘not met’ by AACQA auditors, the decision was made on July 18 to revoke the accreditation of Valley View Nursing Home – which will not become effective until August 25.

AACQA states that the ‘decision reflects the seriousness of recent failures to meet Accreditation Standards’. They also state that the Quality Agency will ‘continue to monitor the home including through unannounced visits’.

In light of the new allegations and following those brought to light during the Oakden scandal earlier this year, Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, reiterates that any mistreatment of older Australians is unacceptable.

“The safety, health, and well-being of older people who reside in aged care services are of paramount importance,” he says.

While there is an established regulatory framework in place to ensure aged care providers deliver quality care and services to care recipients, and includes comprehensive quality standards, assessment and monitoring against these standards, strong compliance powers and a complaints mechanism; Minister Wyatt has announced the independent review will take place.

“Recently, I announced an independent review of the Commonwealth’s aged care quality regulatory processes,” Minister Wyatt says.

“The Commonwealth commissioned the Review to determine why the Commonwealth’s aged care quality regulatory process did not identify the extent of failures of Commonwealth-funded care at Makk and McLeay wards at the South Australian Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.

“The review is also examining improvements to the regulatory system that would increase the likelihood of immediate detection, and swift remediation of failures in care by providers.”

Having opened the review’s consultation up to the public during July, Minister Wyatt has recorded a high level of interest in the review by regulatory bodies, aged care consumers, as well as industry and academics.

The review panel has convened 35 meetings to date with key informants and has received over 400 public submissions.

“In June I called for public submissions and encouraged aged care residents, their families, carers and other interested people to provide submissions to the Review. The public consultation concluded on July 24,” Minister Wyatt says.

“The volume of information gathered during the consultation phase has exceeded expectations and careful consideration will be given to it.”

Minister Wyatt says that if anyone has concerns about care of their loved ones; he encourages them to contact the independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner to discuss their concerns.

AACQA were contacted for comment but stated that the quality Agency is ‘not able to comment on accreditation decisions that are subject to administrative review’.

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