‘We’re not guilty’: CEO of NSW Central Coast aged care provider condemns Royal Commission’s Interim Report

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Peninsula Village CEO Shane Neaves (pictured) has joined criticism from other CEOs last month of the Royal Commission’s sector as a shocking tale of neglect.

“The report paints a terrible picture suggesting that all providers are guilty of the same neglect as those examples that have been voiced at the Royal Commission hearings,” he said.

“I wholeheartedly believe that there are shortfalls in our industry, but it is truly challenging to motivate a team of hardworking people when they are constantly being told they aren’t good enough.

“To state that the sector is ‘unkind and uncaring’ towards older people must be corrected. I do admit that Peninsula Villages isn’t perfect, and we do make mistakes, but we are not, in my opinion, unkind or uncaring towards our residents.”

“These comments really impact those of us who work in the sector and are truly committed to the delivery of quality care and understanding of residents’ needs.”

“We do our best in an environment that has its difficulties.” “I honestly believe the staff here at Peninsula Villages are one of our biggest assets and are confident our beloved residents would agree with this sentiment.”

“To therefore, be generally labelled as being unkind and uncaring, is just not appropriate. What is disappointing however is the throw away statement by the Commissioners that has an impact on all aged care providers. We admit mistakes occur but to say the sector as a whole is ‘substandard and unsafe’ is an unfair critique of the industry and those who are working hard to maintain it.”

Mr Neaves says he personally considers the Report to be an inaccurate overview of the industry and he is a little disillusioned with its outcomes.

“I am in agreeance with the fact that the access to aged care services is hugely complex,” Mr Neaves said.

“Here at Peninsula Villages we endeavour to do our best with the limited funding we are provided. Our commitment to resident focused care, that we are currently rolling out across the organisation, proves that we are focused on our residents’ needs. Peninsula Villages has a strong clinical governance structure in place which addresses any shortfalls in service delivery. Our team, the executive and our board take this extremely seriously.”

“In regard to the comments in the report regarding ‘underpaid, undervalued and insufficiently trained workforce’, we certainly acknowledge that the award rates within the sector are poor and in no way reflective of the dedication of those who work within it. At Peninsula Villages we pride ourselves on providing staff with additional benefits beyond wages. We have an encouraging and flexible employee program that aims to motivate and support our team.”

“We also assure our staff that they are not undervalued, not by management or our residents. Our monthly chief executive officer afternoons are dedicated to recognising our team. “We celebrate staff anniversaries. We reward our team through service awards and, most of all, we look at ways of implementing initiatives throughout our organisation that have, at their core, a focus on our team. In terms of training, you only need to look at our recent annual report to see the commitment we make as an organisation to training and education.”

The CEO blames government inaction for the current problems in the sector.

“In many cases the government barely implemented recommendations suggested to them over numerous inquiries, and, in some cases, didn’t respond to inquiry reports at all,” he said.

“Due to the funding model that we work under, we cannot deny that there are limitations in services. In our annual report, I commented on the Aged Care Financial Report that stated residential aged care expenses increased by 5.4 per cent and our government funding (income) rose by only 1.3 per cent. That means that while more expenses are incurred across residential aged care, less income is received.”

“We know something has to give, and here at the Village we are lucky enough to have other sources of income to subsidise our aged care services. Once again, this is due to a strong commitment by the Village and board to do our best.”

Mr Neaves acknowledged the Commissioners had found serious instances of substandard care and unsafe practices.

“This certainly is a problem,” he said. “I know that shortfalls in service provision in the industry is common.”

“It also identifies the underpaid, undervalued and insufficiently trained workforce and isolation of young people with disabilities. I hope everyone involved in the sector who has pride in the delivery of service we provide, supports each other and continues to work hard for our residents who know us best.”