Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed his decision to implement a royal commission into the aged care sector, saying now is the time to strengthen resources and ensure safe care for the elderly.
Speaking on Channel 7’s Sunrise on Monday morning, the newly appointed prime minister said Australians need full confidence in aged care facilities.
“Australians have to make some difficult decisions about their loves ones at their times of greatest vulnerability and frailty,” he told host David Koch. “I want to make sure that all Australians who are making these decisions have total confidence in the care that their loved ones will receive and that’s why we need to get on with this and we need to get on with it now.”
His comments follow the announcement of a royal commission into the aged care sector on Sunday. It was Morrison himself who ordered the inquiry after receiving information from a government audit that revealed the Department of Health has closed almost one aged care service per month since the notorious Oakden facility in Adelaide was shut one year ago.
As the new prime minister Morrison told Sunrise the royal commission was one of the key things he was eager to go ahead with.
Highlighting the plethora of elder abuse cases reported recently, the prime minister said the extra policing of facilities has uncovered the severity of the problem.
“It may well be that they may have been under-reporting in the past but what it does show is a level of risk and a level of substandard service in elements of this industry that needs to be addressed,” he said on the Monday morning show.
While a report from the royal commission is at least a year away, Morrison said they are taking action against the problem in the mean time.
“Just last week I announced $106M for improving the capacity of particularly regional residential aged care centres, additional resources for the policing of standards, $40M for the lifting of standards,” he listed off.
“This is an area of expanding need because you know with the changing demographic, you’ve got more older Australians going into care ultimately and people leaving it until longer in life because the good news is they have been able to make choices to stay in home longer.
“It means when they go into residential aged care their needs are more acute and that is changing what they need out of these centres.”