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Cultural change needed if new watchdog is to make a difference: Labor

The existing regulatory oversight of the aged-care sector has badly failed Australians and a new body alone won’t fix the issue.

That’s what Labor’s message to government boiled down to regarding the establishment of a new watchdog for the sector.

Speaking in support of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018, MP Tony Zappia said “only time will tell just how effective it’s going to be”.

Zappia’s said there are two other important changes urgently required if the legislation is going to make the difference that MPs hope it will.

“Firstly, there needs to be a culture change across the whole sector, from the regulatory agencies right through to the operators of these facilities,” he said. “Secondly, there needs to be additional funding, and considerable additional funding in some cases. Without it, I can’t see how we’re going to make the improvements that the community is calling for.”

The draft laws yesterday passed the House of Representatives but not without some criticism for the current handling of complaints.

Labor’s Graham Perrett said they often go nowhere.

“The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner communicates fewer than 15 per cent of complaints received by it to the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency – 15 per cent. That cannot be right,” Perrett said.

“Imagine the fear of those vulnerable, frail residents – not able to move, not able to raise any alarm at all and day after day subjected to treatment that no Australian should be subjected to.”

The new legislation would streamline the functions of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said this will allow for instant and constant communication on compliance, risks and complaints.

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One comment

  1. Again, the voice of the small, not-for-profit provider will undoubtedly be shouted down by the 2 sides of the argument, however….. When Tony Zappia talks about “operators of these facilities”, is he missing the thousands of frail, vulnerable Aussies who at risk of abuse in their own homes? What about the thousands of Frail vulnerable Aussies who are being abused by their own families and friends? No-one would ever make excuses for Residential Aged Care Providers and their staff allowing unwittingly or not for abuse to occur, it is indeed an outrage and needs to be harshly dealt with.

    There are however, many Providers of Residential Aged Care who do respect and admire the people who live in their homes. Walk into one of these homes and you will see people going about the business of living, surrounded by people who care about them, but also respect their right to choose how they live life, not as a “bolt on addition” to the standard “model of care” but rather a core value which is part of the organisation’s “culture”, in it’s DNA from the Chairman of the Board (not a high flying suit who has no idea who any of the residents are), through to the Management Team (who know every resident, volunteer, staff member by name), through to the staff teams in each area of operation who know what time their residents like to wake and sleep, what they like or don’t like to eat and I could go on.

    If the organisation or the home in which your family member or you reside does “live” this culture every single day, then the home is NEVER going to provide the care which you deserve.

    Do we always get it 100% right for every person? NO, but if we, as providers of care make a mistake or don’t get things quite right we will put up our hands, talk through the issue or concern, and find a way to make it right.

    Most people might call this a “common sense approach”, but we all know how common this is don’t we?.

    Hopefully the Royal Commission will strip the industry bare and point both regulators and providers toward the philosophy of care which allows each individual provider to align methods of care to the people who live within their homes….