Week one impressions: who would want to be a Commissioner wading through this ‘bureaucratic spaghetti’?

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Cathartic. This could be the appropriate term for veterans of the aged care sector observing the first three days of the Royal Commission.

Because on a public stage rational people (two Commissioners and the Senior Counsels Assisting – there are at least five of them) are listening to what is the craziness of the aged care system in Australia.

In our office we call it ‘bureaucratic spaghetti’.

Example after example came out in the witness questioning. Like this one.

The expert from the Australian Bureau of Statistics who explained in great detail how exacting and strategic they are collecting data to allow government to make wise decisions on investing billions of dollars in residential and home care, only to reveal that home care workers do not exist as a statistical category.

Home care workers are not included in the ABS’s industry classification for aged and disability workers. They are rolled into the 8790 classification which also covers adoption services, marriage guidance services, Alcoholics Anonymous and soup kitchens.

Or the College of Nursing’s representative telling the Commission that Personal Care Workers have to complete 120 hours of practical placement – but could complete their training without any study of dementia care.

Or the ANMF’s Federal Secretary Annie Butler explaining to Senior Counsel how the ACFI assesses how much a provider receives for each resident based on three categories – daily living, behavioural and complex care – but there are no controls in place to ensure that funding makes it to that resident.

How long has this been going on for and why hasn’t someone, anyone said this bureaucratic spaghetti is not good enough?


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