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Royal commission to look at pandemic’s impact on sector

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will zero in on the impact of the novel coronavirus on the aged care sector as it continues operations outside of public settings.

The commissioners called for submissions from the general public and organisations on the pandemic’s impact on care.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on all aspects of Australia’s economy and society, including the delivery of aged care services,” the royal commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

“In order to understand that impact fully, the commissioners are seeking the views of those people directly affected.”

The team is hoping to hear from recipients of aged care services, their families or supporters, aged care providers and those who work in the sector, but added it understands that some in these groups might not be in a position to make a submission because they are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on services.

In late March, the royal commission announced it had suspended all hearings and workshops due to the spread of the virus.

It also froze consultations with the aged care sector to allow those providing care to focus their energies on managing the pandemic.

“While the public-facing work has been on hold the Royal Commission has continued work on an extensive body of research that commenced in 2019,” the commissioners said this week.

“The research covers a range of topics including the funding and financing of the aged care sector; public attitudes towards the aged and aged care in Australia; public attitudes to aged care funding; and the financial viability of the sector. This research will be released to the public in the coming months.”

The commissioners haven’t yet set a date for the resumption of hearings and workshops, and added that the deadline for submissions – 30 June 2020 – was subject to ongoing review due to the effects of COVID-19.

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