Royal Commission calls for sweeping overhaul of aged care system

Elias Hubbard
Марта 3, 2021

The report authors, Commissioner Tony Pagone and Commissioner Lynelle Briggs differ on many important issues, which makes any direction for the Federal Government hard.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $452 million in a bid to address crucial issues in the aged care sector that have come to light following the Aged Care Royal Commission. The commissioners have offered conflicted recommendations on some issues, which Morrison said "highlights the complexity of this problem".

The aged care royal commission spanned two years and involved almost 100 days of hearings, heard from 641 residents, staff, families and experts, accepted over 10,500 submissions, and has produced almost 40 reports and research papers.

The 148 recommendations included in the eight-volume report released on Monday also include establishing a System Governor to provide leadership and shape the system and an independent Inspector General of Aged Care to act as a watchdog.

"Funding is what supports the employment of more care staff, better trained care staff, better paid care staff and better facilities for residents". "That's the nub of this".

"The central vision is of a nation where we value our elders, where we respect them, we provide care and we provide dignity". Now, that's not a glib statement.

The Royal Commissioners have recommended that the government reports to parliament with its response by May 31.

Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs wrote in the final report the current aged care system and its "weak and ineffective regulatory arrangements did not arise by accident". It heard from 641 witnesses, many of whom detailed harrowing experiences of abuse at the hands of carers, and viewed shocking video footage that showed aged care residents being physically abused and neglected.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said $18 million would go towards tougher oversight of the government's home care packages, which allow older Australians to continue living at home with extra support. He said the government will also implement a new quality control system within home care.

"As part of the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in aged care $1.8 billion was committed past year, including a $132 million package in November 2020".

The commissioners identified the failures of home care packages, the level of staffing in aged care homes and the poor quality of aged care in regional areas as particular concerns.

"It's now the Federal Government's job to map out the structural reforms needed to build a safer, accessible and transparent system in an accountable way".

The new Aged Care Commission would operate a network of offices to manage assessments and administer a new integrated aged care program, as well as commissioning and funding providers, and "managing the orderly exit" of under-performers. "There are no barriers to commencing urgent and long-awaited reforms".

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