Aged care regulator ‘too late to act’ in enforcing standards

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New data reveals The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) did not enforce national infection prevention standards in some homes until it was too late.

The federal regulator issued 13 aged care facilities in Victoria with “notices to agree,” however 10 already had outbreaks of the virus when the action was taken.

The notice, officially called a Notice of Requirement to Agree to Certain Matters, sets out terms for non-compliant facilities to immediately address to avoid withdrawal of its accreditation.

Across the 10 facilities issued with the notice, 403 residents had contracted COVID-19 and 75 had died.

There were already 51 active cases of COVID-19 at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Melbourne’s north when they received the notice on 21 July.

Estia Health in Ardeer was issued a notice on 26 July after it already had 68 cases and Epping Gardens had 82 cases when it received its notice on 28 July.

Other facilities issued with late compliance notices include the Glendale Aged Care in Werribee, Baptcare Wyndham Lodge Community, Outlook Gardens and the Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.

Greens aged care spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said, “I’m extremely concerned that the government and commission were not proactive enough … and the Commission relied on self-assessment by providers,” she said.

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