SAVE OUR SENIORS
ScoMo calls royal commission into nursing homes
THE aged-care sector will join the banks in being placed under the blowtorch of a royal commission.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he can no longer ignore the alarming number of agedcare operators who are putting lives at risk by flouting the law in pursuit of profits.
The Federal Government has been under pressure to crack down on providers after a series of scandals exposed neglect, cost-cutting, staff shortages and abuse.
There was a 177 per cent jump in the number of aged-care homes where a “serious risk” to residents was identified last year.
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison will today announce a royal commission into aged care, saying he can no longer ignore the alarming rate of operators flouting the law and putting lives at risk.
The Federal Government has been under pressure to crack down on the sector after a series of scandals exposed cases of neglect, cost cutting, staff shortages and abuse.
New government data reveals there was a 177 per cent jump in the number of aged-care homes where a “serious risk” to residents was identified in the past financial year.
There was also a 292 per cent jump in facilities refusing to comply with rules.
Mr Morrison said he was “troubled” by the briefings he had received since taking the top job and decided to act.
“Walking by these statistics was not possible,” he said. “I want to be satisfied, I want to know how widespread it is.”
The Government will spend the coming weeks consulting stakeholders before announcing terms of reference. But the royal commission is expected to focus on the quality of care in private and government-run aged-care homes.
The inquiry will also hear from young people with disabilities living in residential aged-care homes. It is expected to investigate how Australia can deal with the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia, and the challenges of providing services to elderly Australians in remote and rural areas.
Recently, private aged-care facilities have come under fire from advocates for putting profit ahead of patients. In an effort to cut costs, some providers were recently accused of dumping sick residents in hospital emergency departments to avoid rostering nurses on night shifts, despite receiving millions in government subsidies.
But official data shows the surging number of complaints are not restricted to any one part of the sector,
whether for profit or not.
The decision to hold a royal commission was also triggered by the Oakden elder abuse scandal in South Australia where dementia patients at a government-run facility were abused and neglected over a 10-yearperiod.
“As a community we expect high standards for the quality and safety of aged-care services,” Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister said he was lucky that his parents John and Marion were still living in their family home, where his mother cares for his father due to recent ill-health.
He said he wanted all Australians facing the difficult decision to send a family member into care to have confidence in the system.
“Whenever you make that decision, you want to be confident as a husband, wife or partner . . . that it’s going to be OK,” he said.
“They are trusting you 100 per cent that you are making the right decisions for them. That’s a huge responsibility and people feel that really deeply.”
The announcement comes ahead of a TV investigation due to air this week, but the Government has denied it was a trigger to act.
The Government will hope the pledge helps its prospects as MPs head back to Canberra for another sitting week expected to be overshadowed by a backbench rebellion that could force Peter Dutton to face the High Court.