Home | Aged Care Royal Commission | Aged care watchdog suffering from staff vacancy
A new review of the aged care watchdog found staffing shortages prevented the regulator to perform its best.

Aged care watchdog suffering from staff vacancy

An independent review found Australia’s aged care regulator to be suffering from staff vacancy – affecting its ability to keep up with its expanded role in the wake of the Royal Commission.

David Tune, former secretary of the Department of Finance and Deregulation, released a report about the commission’s responsibility for ensuring older Australians' safety and well-being when the new Aged Care Act starts next July.

However, Mr Tune found "critical capability gaps in the organisation that required urgent attention", such as the current staff vacancy rate of 20 per cent and under-resourcing of ICT and HR services.

"The Commission currently has a staff vacancy rate of 20 per cent, which results in capability and capacity deficits," Mr Tune said.

"Quality assessor staff are difficult to attract and retain, and the resourcing of corporate services such as ICT and HR have not kept pace with the growth in functions and staffing needs."

"If the commission is to become a trusted and high-performing regulator, it must urgently fix its organisational structure, senior leadership, and internal governance and focus on better engagement with the community and the aged care sector."

Mr Tune recommended 32 ways to strengthen and rebuild the Commission, including partnerships with aged care providers and peak organisations.

Another recommendation was an urgent review of the complaints system and serious incident response system with a high priority on finding a new Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

He also recommended against the commission taking on any new functions before the new Aged Care Act is implemented.

"Stakeholder feedback suggests that it has been ‘overloaded’ and new functions transferred from the health department are causing serious risks to its business-as-usual functions," Mr Tune said.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said the report ensured the Commission would continue to reinforce its capacity to maintain high-quality practices for older Australians.

"We are determined to use the review as a springboard to strengthen our capability to help lift the standard of care and overall performance of the aged care sector and boost the community’s trust and confidence in aged care services," Ms Anderson said.

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