Pre-empting the Royal Commission? Aged Care Minister releases consultation paper on registration scheme for aged care workers – full implementation just 18 months away

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Senator Richard Colbeck unveiled the paper yesterday, saying the scheme could be fully in place as early as 2022 – three months after Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Rozen QC recommended a registration scheme among 10 recommendations on the residential aged care workforce to the Aged Care Royal Commission.

You can download the paper here.

“What we’re looking for is a registration scheme that screens all aged care workers, without putting a red tape burden on them or service providers,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We also want to make sure that workers are still able to move between sectors, employers, regions and states as circumstances change.”

The 56-page paper – prepared by MP Consulting – notes that despite years of reports calling for a registration scheme – and aged care workers making up 3% of Australia’s total workforce – there are still no direct requirements for personal care workers under the aged care legislation.

MP outlines that the scheme would apply to all personal care workers across residential care, home care, flexible care, CHSP and NATSIFACP and asks providers to address seven key questions:

  1. Who should the scheme apply to?
  2. What should be the key features of the scheme?
  3. Should worker screening be a positive register of cleared workers and/or a list of excluded workers, and who should have access to the list?
  4. What protections should be built into the scheme, particularly for aged care workers?
  5. How should the scheme be managed?
  6. How should the scheme intersect with other like schemes?
  7. Implementation and transition issues

Aged care workers represent approximately 3 per cent of Australia’s total workforce.

The paper also discusses a Code of Conduct for workers and whether it could be based on existing Codes – such as the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers and the NDIS Code of Conduct.

Also highlighted is which body should oversee the scheme – an existing one such as APHRA or the NDIS Commission, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, a new government body or an independent body.

Mr Rozen had not put forward any candidates, but did note that witnesses had said APHRA would not be the appropriate body to deal with personal care workers.

You can fill in the survey here until 29 June 2020.

The feedback will then be used to prepare a detailed options paper for consideration by the Government once the consultation is complete.

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