Degrading and potentially deadly aged-care practices have gone unaddressed because regulators failed to be proactive, affected clients and concerned carers were not supported, and the government dithered on reform, The Australian reports.
The counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Peter Gray QC, made the comments yesterday as he summed up evidence demonstrating “serious defects” in regulation.
“Equally concerning, these defects are old news: government has been tardy in implementing previously recommended reforms,” Mr Gray told the commission in Brisbane.
“There’s been no sense of urgency; government is yet even to reach a decision on aspects of the action that have previously been recommended by Carnell Paterson (the 2017 review by former ACT chief minister Kate Carnell and Ron Paterson).
“Government has been unable to deal with the challenge posed by the need for reform, or at least to do so promptly.
“Critical, urgent reform tasks have been outsourced to consultants and appear to be mired in protracted and multi-staged industry consultation processes.”
Mr Gray said departmental staff were preoccupied with policies and procedures, according to evidence given to the commission, and lacked “a spirit of inquisitiveness and curiosity”.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission had demonstrated similar attributes, he said, and taking on the same departmental staff meant there was “no guarantee of cultural change without a transcending intervention of some kind”.
Deadly aged-care practices ignored, royal commission told (The Australian)