Bupa says it needs until end of year to get shamed aged care homes up to scratch

Sep 12, 2019
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Bupa has 72 homes across Australia servicing 6,500 residents. Source: Getty

Bupa has responded to widespread backlash following shocking findings in the royal commission into aged care, as well as a series of damning media reports over the last few days, with the healthcare company’s CEO Hisham El-Ansary admitting they will need until the end of the year to get all of their aged care facilities operating effectively.

In a statement released on Thursday, El-Ansary acknowledged that the healthcare company hasn’t met the required standards in some of their operating homes, and are deeply sorry – while they “are committed to making the necessary improvements to put things right”.

“Since taking over the role of CEO earlier this year, I have made it my number one priority to get the quality of care right in our aged care business for each one of our 6500 residents,” he said. “We don’t always get things right, and we are absolutely committed to ensuring we address those areas to fix the problems.”

He said a number of changes have been made, including hiring a new Managing Director of Aged Care, increasing the number of staff, adding more training, as well as inspecting all of their homes.

El-Ansary continued: “Overwhelmingly, the aged care sector delivers a great service for the vast majority of people. Sometimes we don’t always get that right. And where we don’t get it right, I can assure you that we are absolutely committed to addressing those problems as effectively and quickly as we can. People should be confident that in the vast majority of case we deliver a great service to their loved ones.”

With 6,500 residents and 72 homes, El-Ansary insisted he has made it his priority to put things right. He said they currently have nine homes sanctioned and he’s working to remove three as they’ve already passed their auditing process, adding: “So, I expect in the near term that we’ll have six homes under sanction, which is still six too many and it’s my expectation and my ambition that we will have all of our homes operating effectively the end of this year.”

It comes ahead of a report by ABC’s 7.30 program, set to air tonight, which found more than half of the aged care facilities run by Bupa are not meeting required standards and 30 per cent are putting elderly residents at serious risk.

According to accreditation reports analysed by the broadcaster, 45 nursing homes have failed to meet required health and safety standards, 22 homes have been flagged as a “serious risk”, 13 homes have been sanctioned while five homes have had their accreditation revoked, although four of them were re-accredited.

Meanwhile, The Guardian also did their own digging around this week and found that over a third of Bupa’s facilities have been deemed a “serious risk” to residents. While a Daily Telegraph report revealed shockingly 15 NSW nursing homes operated by the healthcare company failed to meet “expected outcomes in unannounced spot checks in the past four years”.

This is the second time this year the facility has been launched into the spotlight due to its improper care of residents. Back in January, the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission identified several issues on the premises surrounding medication management, clinical care, staffing, human resources and behaviour management. As a result the facility was ordered not to take on new residents until June this year.

According to the ABC, the same facility was deemed a “severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care patients” back in January. It was shockingly the ninth of Bupa’s aged care homes that failed to meet the compliance benchmarks set out by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

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