TAKING A GRAN STAND
PM calls royal commission into aged-care cruelty
CRUEL aged-care homes that mistreat and rip off vulnerable elderly Aussies will be exposed by a bombshell royal commission, to be unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today.
Mr Morrison told The Sunday Mail last night he was compelled to take the drastic step after receiving shock briefings that the number of aged-care residents at “serious risk” of harm in dodgy homes had skyrocketed.
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 agedcare homes where a “serious risk” to residents was identified in the last 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 Coalition 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 Sunday Mail understands it will also hear from young people with disabilities living in Residential Aged Care homes.
Recently, private aged-care facilities have come under fire from advocates for putting profit ahead of patients.
But Government data shows the surging number of complaints are not restricted to any one part of the aged care sector, whether it is for profit or not for profit.
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-year-period.
“As a community we expect high standards for the quality and safety of aged-care services,” Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister said he wanted all Australians facing the 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 Coalition 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.
CRACKDOWN: Prime Minister Scott Morrison.