Home | News | Governance hearings: commissioners to look at sanctioned Bupa, Southern Cross Care homes

Governance hearings: commissioners to look at sanctioned Bupa, Southern Cross Care homes

Two aged care providers will be put under the royal commission’s microscope as it heads to Hobart this week.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hearings will examine the operations of Bupa and Southern Cross Care facilities and explore ways to improve the governance of providers generally.

The commissioners will first delve into a case study on Southern Cross Care (Tas), with a particular focus on Yaraandoo Hostel in North-West Tasmania and Glenara Lakes near Launceston.

The former was sanctioned in November last year, after failing to meet 18 of 44 expected quality outcomes, and the latter was issued a notice of non-compliance at the beginning of 2019.

One of the first witnesses to front the royal commission this morning was Jo-Anne Cressey Hardy – former nurse adviser at Yaraandoo Hostel who was brought into the facility after it was sanctioned – who said one of the major organisational defects was the inexperience of the facility manager.

She said it was his first managerial role and he received very little supervision or support. The position responsible for that oversight was vacant and, in the interim, filled by a fellow facility manager who was not stationed nearby.

Next up, the commissioners will turn their attention towards Bupa South Hobart, the provider’s sole Tasmanian offering and one of a number of Bupa facilities sanctioned in 2018. It failed to meet 32 of the 44 expected outcomes.

Bupa higher-ups recently met with aged care advocate and Oakden whisteblower Stewart Johnston. After that meeting, Johnston told Aged Care Insite that managing director Suzanne Dvorak and corporate affairs director Roger Sharp acknowledged that “there was no real oversight at any level in Australia until the beginning of last year”.

To unravel what’s needed to firm up aged care governance, the royal commission will hear evidence from family members of residents of the facilities in question, current and former staff, advisers and administrators appointed under sanctions, and executive management.

It will unpack the ways decisions were made that affected the quality and safety of care to residents and explore how to ensure quality and safety of care is core business for those who have the responsibility of governing approved providers.

The commission will also hear from Catherine Maxwell from the Governance Institute of Australia, who will give evidence about the key features of good governance, and the challenges of governance in the aged care space.

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