Update: Royal Commission into Aged Care & Quality

December 12, 2018

The work of the Royal Commission is well underway with the first of the Provider Surveys being released to the top 100 providers on 23 November 2018. Since the end of November 2018, further providers of all types and sizes have received eight questions designed to capture the historical standard of care.

The aim of the Provider Survey is to inform the Commission about instances where providers have not lived up to community expectations and/or not met their responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth). The Commission intends to use the information it collects to find examples of the aged care landscape and the key issues in the sector.

Providers are encouraged to conduct a thorough review of their position against these questions and to receive legal advice about engaging with the voluntary submission process. In addition, full cooperation with the Royal Commission in answering the questions posed regarding quality performance and policy improvements is encouraged. Where providers feel uncertain about the scope of their review, they should seek legal advice or engage with the Royal Commission’s office for clarity.

As providers work through their data and documents for the Provider Survey, the Royal Commission’s office is engaging with select consumers and interviewing stakeholders across Australia to inform itself of the perceptions and experiences of the community.

In addition to this, the Royal Commission will be onboarding a new Commissioner replacing Hon Justice Joseph McGrath. Former Federal Court judge, Hon Richard Tracey AM RFD QC, has taken Justice McGrath’s place as the judicial representative on the Commission effective 10 December 2018. His Honour is familiar with the operation of Royal Commissions, having previously been engaged as counsel assisting in the 2001 Cole Royal Commission into the construction industry.

With the government keen to note that the new appointment will not impact on the time frame for the beginning of the Commission’s work, sufficient time is needed for the new Commissioner to delve deep into the very niche area of aged care before the first public hearing set for 18 January 2019.

Recent updates to the Royal Commission website 

For those who are subscribed to the Royal Commission mailing list, subscribers may find that they haven’t been made aware of the most recent additions to the Commission’s official website. The Commission appears to be communicating directly with key contacts for each provider rather than through the registered mailing list.

As such, those seeking information may not have seen the updates to the ‘FAQ on Aged Care Approved Provider Information Request’ nor the addition of new content to the website like that of the ‘Related Publications’ page which lists an extensive set of possible reference material.

Providers should make use of the other news and update subscriptions, and check the Royal Commission website intermittently prior to 7 January 2019.

For further resources on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, click here.

To sign up for Russell Kennedy updates and insights into the aged care sector, click here.