Newmarch report is released as Aged Care Minister under pressure

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An independent review of the Newmarch House outbreak has revealed a lack of clarity among government agencies, which created confusion for the Anglicare Board and managers.

The review, conducted by infectious disease physician Professor Lyn Gilbert, suggests this was a key factor in the COVID-19 outbreak that cost 19 residents their lives.

The Professor explored seven key areas that made up events that unfolded at Newmarch House.

They were:

  1. Emergency response
  2. Leadership and management
  3. Communication
  4. Staffing
  5. Infection prevention and control
  6. Medical and clinical care
  7. Family experience

Under ‘Emergency response’ Professor Gilbert said:

“(There was) a lack of clarity in the relationships and hierarchy among government health agencies, including Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, NSW Health, the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.”

“This created confusion for the Anglicare Board and managers.”

The Professor identified 20 key learnings as part of the 35 page report which can be found here.

Aged Care Minister under pressure

Last week the Government announced an additional $170 million would be put into the aged care COVID response with emergency response centres for states and territories, as we reported here.

This comes as the media had a field day with Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck, who stumbled over the number of exact deaths in aged care when he was grilled by the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 late last week.

The Australian reports Health Minister Greg Hunt has responsibility to declare if and when an Aged Care Emergency Response Operations Centre is mobilised.

This would seem appropriate, as Senator Colbeck reports to Hunt, who sits in the Cabinet.

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