The Aged Care Sector Committee is being called together for a three-hour urgent meeting this Friday, fuelling speculation of a possible announcement about the Commonwealth agencies overseeing aged care in tonight’s Federal Budget.
Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, declared last week there will be a review of accreditation, investigation, monitoring, review, complaints and compliance processes, after it became clear the processes in place by Government to ensure quality and safety had failed residents in the state-run Oakden facility on multiple levels.
The revelation of systemic issues between the Quality Agency, Complaints Commissioner and the aged care branch of the Health Department has given the Minister little choice but to make drastic changes quickly.
Prior to the Oakden scandal, it is understood that tensions between the Complaints Commissioner, Quality Agency and both the Departments of Health and Human Services had been building for some time, with conflicting views at the highest levels about how to address challenges facing the industry including ACFI, ongoing problems with My Aged Care, payment delays and quality standards.
Like any organisation, the public service is not immune to turf wars that become less about the best interests of clients and more about the individuals involved.
But as Minister Wyatt embarks on the next and arguably most significant stages of reforms to the aged care industry, he needs all stakeholders on board – providers, associations, and departmental and agency staff who can contribute positively to the whole process.
Streamlining responsibility for aged care policy and regulation in the coming months would be a timely move ahead of the next stage of reforms that will inevitably follow David Tune’s legislative review due in August.
The tragedy of Oakden may have provided an irrefutable catalyst for change.