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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

New Watchdog Starts Today

The much anticipated independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has officially opened its doors, launching its one-stop quality and safety website and the single new contact number for aged care concerns and queries today.

The Commission has been set up in the wake of a series of scandals involving the mistreatment of elderly residents, which sparked a royal commission into the sector.

The revelations of the abuse and neglect of residents at the Oakden aged care facility in South Australia were shocking when they came to light. A key recommendation from the South Australian review was for the Commonwealth to merge the body in charge of accrediting nursing homes with the body that dealt with complaints about them.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt says the new Commission will better target substandard care and ensure the safety and security of senior Australians. “With the motto ‘Engage, Empower and Safeguard’, the Commission flags a new beginning for aged care quality and safety,” Mr Wyatt says. “A single Commissioner overseeing compliance monitoring, complaints and customer service means no more silos. “For the first time, senior Australians and their loved ones have one place to go when they need help, want to raise a concern, or access information about an aged care service.”

Commissioner Janet Anderson, the woman in charge of the newly formed Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, said the body would provide a one-stop shop for older people and their relatives who had questions or concerns about an aged care provider.

"More than $48 million is being used to ramp up compliance checks and risk management, including the recruitment of additional compliance officers or quality surveyors and complaints officers," she said.

“The Commission will also be empowered by the new aged care Charter of Rights and will implement the new, stronger set of Aged Care Quality Standards, the first upgrade of standards in 20 years,” Mr Wyatt says.

The Commission has a budget of almost $300 million over four years, with more than $48 million to continue ramping up compliance checks and risk management, including the employment of dozens of new compliance officers and developing options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme.

The royal commission into aged care will deliver an interim report in October and a final report in early 2020.

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