Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt has launched the independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – a new watchdog for the aged care sector that will crack down on abuse and neglect.
A one-stop quality and safety website has also been launched, while a single new contact for aged care concerns and queries has also made its debut. The number is 1800 951 822. The new Commission will target sub-standard care to ensure the safety and security of senior Australians.
“With the motto ‘Engage, Empower and Safeguard’, the Commission flags a new beginning for aged care quality and safety,” Wyatt said in a statement on Wednesday. “A single Commissioner overseeing compliance monitoring, complaints and customer service means no more silos.”
This means senior Australians and their families now have one place where they can go if they need help, want to raise a concern, or simply access information about an aged care service.
“In another first, the Commission includes a new Chief Clinical Adviser to oversee quality care delivery across the nation,” Wyatt explained. “The Commission will also be empowered by the new aged care Charter of Rights and will implement the new, stronger set of Aged Care Quality Standards, the first upgrade of standards in 20 years.”
Almost $300 will be invested into the Commission over four years, with more than $48 million to ramp up compliance checks and risk management. This includes the employment of dozens of new compliance officers and developing options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme.
Inaugural Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said the new Commission would mean better engagement for senior Australians, their families and aged care providers.
“Our key focus will be on safeguarding the more than 1.3 million senior Australians who receive some form of aged care service,” Anderson said in a statement. “The Commission’s vision is to support a world-class aged care service driven by empowered consumers who enjoy the best possible quality of life.”
Unannounced re-accreditation audits of aged care homes will triple this year and there will be more than 3,000 unannounced inspections.
“In recent weeks I have met with staff transitioning to the new Commission from the former Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the former Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, and I know they are totally committed to quality care,” Anderson added. “Our new website has also been carefully designed and tested to ensure it is user-friendly, with easily searchable information for consumers and providers.”
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The website includes an array of helpful information about aged care including aged care consumer rights, access to free advocacy services to support senior Australians, access to audit reports on aged care homes, information on registering complaints and resources to help providers meet standards.
The formation of the Independent Commission was a key recommendation of the Carnell-Paterson Review and was ordered by the government following the Oakden aged care tragedy in South Australia.
“The new Commission is another example of our Government’s aged care reform agenda continuing at full pace, while the aged care Royal Commission goes about its important work,” Wyatt said. “We are dedicated to providing senior Australians and their families with confidence and certainty in quality aged care delivery.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can be contacted on 1800 951 822 or by visiting agedcarequality.gov.au.
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