Super agency to police aged-care homes
A NEW super agency will be established to police aged-care homes in a bid to better protect elderly residents let down by the system.
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt will today announce the creation of the new independent commission, which will create single watchdog and respond to frustrations about regulators being needlessly spread over multiple bodies.
It comes after The Courier-Mail this year exposed a series of shocking revelations of violence, malnutrition and neglect in Queensland's nursing homes.
The overhaul is also in response to a review into the Oakden scandal in South Australia, which found serious maladministration including abuse allegations being mishandled.
The changes will include:
● The creation of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, creating a "one-stop shop" to highlight failures by nursing homes and bring them into line, and raising the quality of benchmarks homes must meet;
● Bringing together the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and many functions of the Department of Health into the single body;
● Providing a single point of contact for elderly residents and their families to deal with claims of dodgy care; and
● The appointment of an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner who will report to the Minister and be supported by an advisory group.
Mr Wyatt said he hoped the "significant reforms" would give senior Australians and their families confidence they wouldn't be mistreated.
"The unified new Commission will be a responsive, one-stop shop to prevent failures, highlight quality concerns and have them quickly rectified," Mr Wyatt said.
"This builds on the Government's recent introduction of unannounced re-accreditation audits across every one of Australia's residential aged care facilities.
"Importantly, the new Commission will give senior Australians and their loved ones a single point of contact when they need help in dealing with claims of substandard care.
"Risks to senior Australians will be investigated promptly and care failures identified faster."
The new Commission will start from the start of next year, which will also receive advice from a Chief Clinical Advisor, particularly on complex clinical matters.
The Courier-Mail this year revealed aged-care inspectors have alerted the federal Health Department about a "serious risk'' to residents' safety in four homes, including two run by the Queensland Government.
Fifteen homes failed audits in a 12-month period, including one that failed to report assaults to police.
There were also questions about five deaths at the Baptist-run Carinity Fairfield Grange home in Townsville.