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Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety announced

17 Sep 2018

On Sunday in a joint statement with the Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a Royal Commission into the aged care sector.

The Royal Commission, which is the highest form of inquiry in Australia, is set to focus on residential aged care and home care and will also cover the care provided to young people with disabilities who live in residential aged care facilities.

While the terms of reference are yet to be finalised, it is expected that the scope of the Royal Commission will include:

  • The quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;
  • The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;
  • The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering from dementia and addressing their needs as they age;
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including remote, rural and regional Australia; and
  • Any other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary.

We expect that the terms of reference for the Royal Commission will be finalised over the next few weeks after consultation with all relevant stakeholders (i.e. residents, their families and aged care providers) and it is expected that the Commission will progress relatively quickly to begin hearings.

From working closely with our clients, we have an intimate understanding of the great work, systems and processes that providers have in place to serve the community through the provision of aged care and services. We are also aware that our clients are continually introducing to the sector, world-class and ground-breaking initiatives which shape the way care and services are delivered.

With the above in mind, we believe that the industry’s triumphs, as well as its challenges, need to be highlighted during the Royal Commission. We think that the Royal Commission is an excellent opportunity not only to identify and resolve areas of improvement in the sector but to highlight to the broader community the great work delivered on a daily basis. We see the Royal Commission as a genuine opportunity for the industry.

During the Royal Commission, aged care providers will require robust and effective legal collaboration, advocacy and leadership to ensure that this unique opportunity is not wasted and to deliver a positive outcome for older Australians, the community and aged care providers. 

As we have seen with the recent Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Insurance, navigating the Royal Commission landscape can be difficult for those organisations who operate within its scope of inquiry. The Royal Commission into aged care will be no different, and providers will need to be keenly aware of their rights and responsibilities and will need to ensure they have strong advocates representing them throughout the process. 

Hynes Legal has represented and assisted clients with a broad range of inquiries into the aged care sector. We will be offering ongoing information and support to providers throughout the Commission process, including partnering and working collaboratively with peak industry bodies to assist providers.

If your organisation receives correspondence from the Commission requesting your participation in the Royal Commission or if you would like to know more about any of the above please contact us for assistance.

Disclaimer

This content is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Providers should always seek legal advice as to how any new legislative requirements will apply to the individual circumstances of their business.

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