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Strengthening aged care complaints handling

The recent federal Budget measure to move the Aged Care Complaints Scheme from the vexed management of the Department of Social Services to the Aged Care Commissioner on 1 January 2016 is expected to strengthen the independence of the complaints process.
Aged Care Commissioner, Rae Lamb.
Aged Care Commissioner, Rae Lamb.

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme currently plays an important role in ensuring that older Australians receive quality care and feel safe when receiving aged care services. The Budget measure is aimed at increasing the independence of the Scheme.

This move will result in a separation of complaints handling from the Department’s policy and funding roles which reflects best practice.

The Budget papers report the change will create savings of $2.8 million over four years from efficiencies.

However, it is important that people are aware that the way in which they lodge complaints and the way the Scheme handles complaints is not changing.

People with current complaints will not be impacted.

If you have an active complaint, the management and resolution of these will continue as outlined to you when the complaint process commenced.

People wishing to contact the Scheme to lodge a complaint need to continue to do so by calling 1800 550 552 or via the online complaints form.

The lodging and handling of new complaints will continue as normal.

There is no need to contact the Aged Care Commissioner as complaints will continue to be managed via the Scheme.

Who is the Aged Care Commissioner?

Rae Lamb was first appointed as Aged Care Commissioner on 5 January 2011 for a three year term. In June 2013, she was reappointed until 4 January 2017.

Ms Lamb has extensive experience with complaint handling and resolution, investigations, and review in the health and aged care regulatory environment, as well as public speaking and presenting. She was the Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner in New Zealand for five and a half years.

A fact sheet on Independent Aged Care Complaints arrangements is available as part of the Department of Social Services Budget materials.

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