The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission welcomes the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The report, which sets out evidence, findings and recommendations from 28 months of careful examination of our aged care system, is a very substantial body of work which brings the shortcomings of the sector into clear focus and deserves close attention.
The report powerfully conveys the hopes and expectations of all Australians when it comes to how we want to live, as we grow older and as we become more reliant on others for our care and support needs. The report also paints a vivid picture of an Australian aged care system that, by focusing on meeting individual needs, would regain the community’s trust and confidence.
Titled ‘Care, Dignity and Respect’, the Royal Commission’s final report sends a strong message to everyone about the importance of treating all older Australians with dignity and respect; as individuals with their own identity, goals, values and preferences.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister Greg Hunt and Minister Richard Colbeck have issued a joint statement reaffirming the Australian Government’s commitment to transform the aged care system, using the Royal Commission’s final report as both motivation and impetus to pursue the comprehensive reforms required.
The Prime Minister has also given an undertaking that the Government will report to the Parliament on its response to the Royal Commission Final Report recommendations by 31 May 2021.
Reform is already underway in a number of areas identified for attention by the Royal Commission. Notably, the commencement of the Serious Incident Response Scheme from 1 April 2021 represents a significant step up from existing compulsory reporting arrangements with the aim of ensuring that providers are taking additional and necessary steps to prevent and reduce the risk of harm to aged care residents.
In its preliminary response to the final report, the Government has announced other funded reform initiatives around five key pillars - home care, residential aged care quality and safety, residential aged care services and sustainability, workforce, and governance.
Included in this initial package is $32 million over four years for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to use to strengthen provider quality and rebuild community confidence in the aged care system. This measure will fund a Senior Restraint Practitioner role and strengthened regulation to assist providers to minimise the use of physical and chemical restraint, an expansion of the assessor workforce required to increase the number of site audits conducted, and an extension of our pharmacy outreach program to 2025. Additional resources will also establish a new senior executive role (Assistant Commissioner) to lead work with the sector to lift provider capability.
We will continue to work closely with Government agencies and other key stakeholders to deliver on the Government’s reforms and plans for the aged care sector.
All staff in the Commission share a strong commitment to ensuring that older Australians receiving aged care are safe, well looked after, and have a good quality of life. We work to achieve this objective by holding approved providers to account for meeting their legal obligations, including in relation to providing safe, quality care and striving to continuously improve their performance and outcomes for older Australians.
If anyone has a concern about an aged care service, complaints can be made via the Commission’s website www.agedcarequality.gov.au or by calling 1800 951 822.
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