Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) CEO Sean Rooney welcomes the Turnbull Government’s response to the Carnell-Paterson Review recommendations, including the establishment of an independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to centralise accreditation, compliance and complaints handling. This would include the functions currently undertaken by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.
Other recommendations to be implemented include a rating system for public reporting of aged care provider performance and the enactment of a Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) for aged care.
The Carnell-Paterson Review was commissioned by the Government after failures of care were identified at the Mack and McLeay wards in South Australia’s Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.
Mr Rooney said quality in Australia’s aged care system is non-negotiable.
“Australia has a good aged care system. And a good system can always do better. It is in this context that our industry supports initiatives that contribute to continuous improvement in the quality of care, support, services and accommodation provided to older Australians.”
With regard to the announced establishment of the new Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission Mr Rooney said that a ‘one stop regulatory shop’ will hopefully improve information sharing across existing Government agencies, minimise red tape, and enable a more efficient regulatory system.
“As for a rating system for providers of age services, LASA believes more work needs to be done to understand what consumers value and how they can best get accurate information to assist in their decision making.”
With regards to implementing a Serious Incident Reporting Scheme (SIRS) for aged care Mr Rooney said this could be going too far by placing new and extended reporting responsibilities on providers without adequately considering the arrangements already in place.
“Several mechanisms already exist to report issues if they arise so the proposed SIRS program needs to be further investigated to determine what additional value it brings to the system.”
Mr Rooney said that the overwhelming majority of aged care providers in Australia are delivering excellent services, underpinned by dedicated and professional staff.
“We all want a high quality aged care system. A system that assures the community of the safety, wellbeing and quality of life for older Australians receiving care,” Mr Rooney said.
“Our industry expects this, and all Australians will settle for nothing less. We look forward to working with the Government and other key stakeholders in the pursuit of quality system improvements in the service of older Australians.”
Mr Rooney noted that to achieve this focus on improved quality through system improvements, new models of care, and innovation, stable funding and workforce development strategies are among the industry’s highest priorities.