Aged care peaks on quality of care: “hard regulation is not the answer”

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With three independent reviews of the sector currently underway, Pat Sparrow (Aged & Community Services Australia), Sean Rooney (Leading Age Services Australia) and Cameron O’Reilly (Aged Care Guild) have again joined forces to push for a better accreditation and quality process.

In a joint statement, they say reforms to the sector are designed to give residents more choice and control over their care and improve quality of care, but these must be matched by an accreditation and complaints process that protects residents.

“We need to learn from issues exposed by the Oakden scenario,” Cameron O’Reilly told us. “If the frameworks and governance has fallen down then we need to make sure it is working as well as possible.”

He points out that the regulatory framework in the area, including the independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, is still relatively new and its performance needs to be reviewed.

“We are moving to a single quality framework that adopts a risk-based approach, and that will deliver better outcomes than increased regulation. Hard and costly regulation is not the answer,” Mr O’Reilly said.

At the same time, he says providers need to have a commitment to quality of care. “If you have a poor reputation that’s not going to be good for your success in the industry going forward. There is a lot more quality assessment being done by consumers and the markets and that is what’s going to drive quality in the future.”