The Hon Julie Collins MP is right to be concerned about unannounced audits of aged care providers.
Under Labor, there were no unannounced re-accreditation audits. Labor gave providers at least 2 to 3 months advanced notice of re-accreditation audits.
Unannounced re-accreditation audits were introduced in July 2018 by the Liberal National Government.
The Liberal National Government is committed to the safety of senior Australians and ensuring quality care standards are met through independent assessments.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission was established on 1 January 2019 to protect the health, safety, wellbeing and quality of life for Australians receiving Government–subsidised aged care services. It is independent of Ministers and the Government.
The newly appointed Commissioner, Ms Janet Anderson, has wide powers to independently assess and hold aged care providers to account when quality standards are not met.
Quality assessors undertake unannounced visits to residential aged care facilities and are exercising search powers to ensure safety for aged care consumers at all times.
Some of these visits are conducted outside business hours and on weekends.
In my discussions with the Commissioner, I have confirmed that the timing of these visits takes into account the nature of the concern and the risk profile of the provider.
Providers are not told of these visits in advance, nor at what time of the day they will occur.
I have been advised that the Commission is looking to increase the proportion of unannounced visits undertaken outside business hours and on weekends.
The Commission is responsible for aged care regulation, complaints resolution, consumer engagement and education functions.
It is a single ‘one–stop shop’ to ensure and promote safe, quality care for senior Australians in aged care. The new Commission has funding of almost $300 million, including more than $48 million to further increase compliance activities and unannounced visits, which will triple this year.
People looking for more information or to make a complaint can visit: https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/