The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will be spending more time on the ground this year after lodging requests for more contractors, according to The Australian.
A public tender due to close tomorrow shows that the watchdog wants enough staff to undertake at least 600 on-site visits after only carrying out 200 last year due to COVID.
“The Commission plans to expand its long-term workforce capacity for re-accreditation site audits through the procurement of resources to conduct audits,” the tender states.
“Under this procurement, service provider(s) will provide a skilled workforce to undertake site audits of residential aged-care services against the Aged Care Quality Standards … depending on the market response to this opportunity, the Commission is intending to seek a suitable workforce to support delivering at least 600 site audits per year.”
As we covered here, the ACQSC’s Commissioner, Janet Anderson, was grilled over the regulator’s ‘inaction’ on aged care homes with COVID outbreaks at last year’s Senate enquiry into the Government’s COVID response after a series of media stories that portrayed the ACQSC as “toothless”.
The regulator did conduct 5,577 assessment contact activities in July to September 2020, but only 1,005 of those involved an on-site visit.
The ACQSC is also due to receive a boost in its regulatory powers with the Serious Incident Response Scheme – first touted in the 2017 Carnell Paterson report – set to start on 1 April to include greater powers to hold providers to account for failing to meet standards.