VIC: Anglican Bishop-backed merger of controversial ‘flu’ aged care home faces backlash from community and board – $9M in play

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A proposed merger of aged care homes Kellock Lodge in Alexandra and St John’s Village in Wangaratta – where 10 residents died in last year’s flu outbreak – has locals voicing their opposition at a community meeting.

As we covered here, serious management failures at St John’s were identified during the investigation into the deaths with its CEO resigning and its former Acting Care Services Manager reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA).

Anglican Bishop John Parkes wants to merge Kellock Lodge with the Wangaratta facility, writing in a letter that a combined board to oversee both homes would help both to meet the challenges of an “increasingly complex and competitive aged care environment” and citing seven non-compliance issues made against the facility by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA).

But a recent community meeting of 378 locals voted almost unanimously – just one ‘no’ – to reject the move and to request “the Kellock Board to investigate whether any avenues exist for the transfer of the land to an appropriate community based entity”.

They have been backed by three of Kellock’s eight directors in a public letter, stating that given the facility has $9 million in the bank, the accreditation issues have been resolved and the community support, there is no “reasonable or defendable rationale” to support the merger.