Last week’s formal hearings into the aged care workforce have proven to be one of the biggest weeks yet for the Royal Commission, ending with Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Rozen QC blasting the Government as “missing in action” on the issues – and calling for a partnership approach between Government and the industry.
Following the sad news of Commissioner Richard Tracey’s passing, the hearing room was treated to a 12-minute video – clearly the result of hours of painstaking work – of past witnesses slamming staffing in the sector.
The first day also saw evidence from the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) ‘s Director Professor Kathy Eagar, who headed up the Royal Commission’s first independent research into Australia’s staffing levels and how they compare with other countries.
The depth of the research – which took several months – was impressive – and damning. Over 50% of Australian aged care facilities were found to be staffed at a below-acceptable level compared to the United States.
These are the issues that the Royal Commission is investing serious money in – suggesting it sees a path forward for minimum staffing requirements here.
The Commission was also on the hunt for ‘new thinking’ – but a panel of CEOs on the Wednesday failed to deliver.
Most of the ideas raised had already been flagged in previous hearings – and even Mr Rozen begged for feedback, the only clear message was the need for providers to have some ‘clear air’ from the current reforms.
Read the story from The Daily COMMISSION HERE.
Unsurprisingly then Mr Rozen’s closing address included a call out for written submissions on six key areas:
- methods for determining appropriate staffing levels and the appropriate skills mix for aged care;
- ideas for transforming aged care training and education;
- a registration scheme for personal care workers;
- options to resolve low remuneration and poor working conditions;
- governance, leadership and workforce culture; and
- the respective role of the Commonwealth and the aged care industry in relation to the aged care workforce.
With the Royal Commission moving to Mudgee – and then Hobart where the operations of “selected” aged care providers will be under scrutiny – in two weeks, the spotlight on the sector is only going to intensify.
The ABC is again advertising for ‘dirt’ on aged care, asking its readers to report any cases of abuse, malnutrition and neglect (see picture inset). This ‘A Current Affair-style’ reporting will continue to add to the challenging environment for providers.
Stay in the know. Our journalist Lauren Broomham is on the ground at the hearings every day and is the only journalist covering the Royal Commission in its entirety.
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