Aus­tralia to start pow­er­ful pub­lic in­quiry into aged-care sec­tor

Iran Daily - - Society -

Aus­tralia will be­gin a pub­lic in­quiry, or Royal Com­mis­sion, into the coun­try’s aged-care sec­tor as a spike in cases of el­derly abuse cre­ates a “dis­turb­ing trend”, Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said on Sun­day.

The in­quiry comes at a time when the num­ber of Aus­tralians mov­ing into res­i­den­tial care is set to jump, with the pop­u­la­tion aged 65 years and above, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data, fore­cast to more than dou­ble to 8.9 mil­lion by 2055, Reuters re­ported.

“I think we should brace our­selves for some pretty bruis­ing in­for­ma­tion about the way our loved ones, some of them have ex­pe­ri­enced some real mis­treat­ment,” Mor­ri­son said.

Over the past year, one ser­vice provider on an av­er­age has been shut down daily by the govern­ment, re­veal­ing “a very dis­turb­ing trend in what is hap­pen­ing in terms of non-com­pli­ance and abuses and fail­ures of care”, he added.

Aus­tralia’s A$20 bil­lion ($14 bil­lion) aged-care in­dus­try, which ac­counts for about 1.2 per­cent of its GDP, has about 2,000 care ser­vice providers of­fer­ing home sup­port, home care and res­i­den­tial care. Some of the in­dus­try’s listed play­ers in­clude Ja­para Health­care and Regis Health­care.

Govern­ment fig­ures show there has been a 177-per­cent surge in ser­vices with se­ri­ous risks to res­i­dents iden­ti­fied in the sec­tor in the past year. The num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties that re­fused to com­ply with rules jumped al­most four fold.

Cases where fa­cil­i­ties would have res­i­dents at risk have risen to 61 from two over the last three years.

“The is­sue isn’t just in metro cen­ters or just in ru­ral cen­ters, it is not just in for-profit or non-profit,” Mor­ri­son said.

“It is right across, as best as we can de­ter­mine from the com­pli­ance work that has been done to­day, so we do want to look right across the board at what is oc­cur­ring.”

Labour party leader, Bill Shorten, the largest op­po­si­tion party to the rul­ing Lib­eral-national coali­tion, told ABC TV on Sun­day that there is a ‘national cri­sis’ in aged care.

“I don’t think that I’m fear­mon­ger­ing and I’m pleased that the govern­ment is mov­ing in the same di­rec­tion,” he said.

A Royal Com­mis­sion is Aus­tralia’s most pow­er­ful type of govern­ment in­quiry, par­tic­u­larly be­cause it has the power to com­pel wit­nesses. It can cover a range of sub­jects deemed to be in pub­lic in­ter­est, from in­di­vid­ual to broad in­dus­try mat­ters.

One such in­quiry is cur­rently roil­ing Aus­tralia’s bank­ing, funds-man­age­ment and the pen­sion fund sec­tor with daily rev­e­la­tions of se­ri­ous mis­con­duct.

LUKAS COCH/AAP Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son speaks in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Par­lia­ment House in Can­berra, Aus­tralia, on Septem­ber 10, 2018.

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