Home | Industry+Policy | What the Oakden inquiry teaches us: COTA

What the Oakden inquiry teaches us: COTA

COTA Australia has this week praised the Senate’s interim report into South Australia’s Oaken aged care facility, and says it highlights the urgent need to stamp out toxic cultures and systemic failures in the sector.

Chief executive Ian Yates said there was a need for more stringent accreditation practices and support for whistle-blowers to protect older Australians.

“The interim Senate report highlights the ‘toxic culture of willful negligence and cover up’ within the centre, as well as the failure of regulatory authorities to pick-up poor practices, fear of recrimination against families or staff if complaints were made and the neglect of government agencies in acting on the concerns that were raised,” he said.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that the catastrophic failures at Oakden would never have come to light without the persistence of the Oakden families in drawing attention to the situation; it’s beyond appalling that it took the death of Bob Spriggs for that to happen.

“Oakden had received accreditation despite a long history of incidents at the centre [that] demonstrated systemic failures that had to be urgently addressed. Alarmingly the committee said it cannot be confident that there are not other aged care facilities where abuse and neglect are occurring elsewhere in Australia.”

Yates said the Senate’s draft report, together with review findings from Kate Carnell, Ron Paterson and David Tune, showed regulations for Australia’s aged care facilities still needed improvement.

“The committee has done a good job in investigating what happened at Oakden and giving a voice to the families impacted by the neglect of their loved ones, not just at Oakden but across Australia,” Yates said.

“In the past 12 months we have seen three separate inquiries into how to improve our whole aged care system – it’s time for the federal government to really start acting on the recommendations of these inquiries because as it stands older Australians are being let down, and in the case of Oakden, with tragic circumstances.

“We welcome the Senate Committee’s decision to continue its inquiry beyond Oakden to the aged care system more broadly, while noting the need for coordination with a parallel House of Representatives inquiry.”

COTA Australia has now called for greater transparency around aged care accreditation and associated visits, more engagement with residents and families during the accreditation process, an improved complaints process, and a consumer directed approach to residential care.

Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now