“Neglect is evident time and time again”: Commissioners Briggs says it will take “years” to reform aged care sector

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By Lauren Broomham

Commissioner Lynelle Briggs (pictured below) has promised the Royal Commission will set the stage for the future of aged care at the Commission’s latest community forum in Townsville last Thursday following eight days of hearings around quality of care in Darwin and Cairns.

“It will take many years and not going to be completed in 12 months … but we will do our darndest to set the platform to go on,” she said.

Speaking to a room of 200 concerned community members at the Rydges Southbank function centre, the Commissioner reflected that she asks herself the question every day: when did older people become a burden on society?

“At the same time, I can see how loved families are,” she noted.

“There is a total disjuncture here and it’s as if this area has been neglected and the term neglect is evident time and time again.”

Commissioner Briggs also pointed out that these issues always seem to come back to staffing – adequate staffing, training of staff, the availability of staff and staff attitudes – but emphasised the role of leadership too.

She also expressed disappointment at the “retribution” towards families who raise concerns about their loved one’s care.

“This is a hard gig … all I can do is encourage you to speak up.”

An interesting insight into the Commissioner’s thinking – and the direction that the Commission may be heading in.

The next hearings on carers for older Australians will kick off next Monday, 29 July 2019 in Mildura and will run to Wednesday 31 July 2019.

This will be followed by five days of hearings starting Monday, 5 August 2019, in Brisbane on the regulation of aged care and a community forum in Adelaide on Monday, 12 August 2019.

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