REFORM AHEAD: New independent commission will start operating from January 1.
REFORM AHEAD: New independent commission will start operating from January 1. ThinkStock

Commission a step in the right direction for Aged Care

THE Federal Government announced today the establishment of an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission which will be tasked with oversighting aged care regulation, compliance and complaints handling.

The independent commission will start operating from January 1, 2019 and will bring together the functions of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, that Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the aged care regulatory functions of the Department of Health.

A new chief clinical advisor will also be appointed to the commission and be responsible for advising on complex clinical matters.

 "The unified new Commission will be a responsive, one-stop shop to prevent failures, highlight quality concerns and have them quickly rectified," Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said.

"This builds on the Government's recent introduction of unannounced re-accreditation audits across every one of Australia's residential aged care facilities.

"Importantly, the new Commission will give senior Australians and their loved ones a single point of contact when they need help in dealing with claims of sub-standard care.

"Risks to senior Australians will be investigated promptly and care failures identified faster."

The commission has been established in response to the Carnell-Paterson review into failures at South Australian's Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service. The review found the current aged care regulatory framework is fragmented and does not adequately provide the assurance the community expects.

"The integrated agency will give the more than 1.3 million senior Australians in Commonwealth aged care greater confidence in the regulation of that care," Mr Wyatt said.

"Ensuring senior Australians and their families have clear, concise information when choosing aged care options is also critical.

 "We recognise that the vast majority of providers give consistent, quality care to their residents. But, as we have seen, there can be failures. We must ensure that disasters like Oakden are never repeated," Mr Wyatt said.

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