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Terms of Reference released - Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

2 mins  09.10.2018 Penelope Eden

Following the announcement on Sunday 16th September by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Terms of Reference have now been released.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Terms of Reference.

The Commissioners have been announced as the Honourable Justice Joseph McGrath and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO.

The Commissioners are required to provide their interim report by no later than 31 October 2019, with the final report due 30 April 2020. The Commission will begin as soon as practical, with the Commission to open public hearings in Adelaide.

The Terms of Reference are broad ranging and in line with the themes we had expected.

The issues to be examined include:

  • all aspects of quality and safety of aged care services, including clinical care, dignity, choice and control, end of life care, and governance arrangements
  • the critical role of the aged care workforce
  • the interface of service delivery with primary health services, acute care and disability
  • examples of good practice and innovative models of care in delivering aged care services
  • the findings and recommendations of previous reports and inquiries.

The Royal Commission will not examine retirement villages or other forms of seniors living and is limited to Commonwealth funded aged care services.

In his media announcement today, the Prime Minister made it clear that whilst we must examine the failings in service delivery in the past, that this will be "a very future focussed Royal Commission", looking to a national culture of respect for senior Australians as they age.

Given the fast paced nature of a Royal Commission, now is a good time to start your preparations and position your organisation for the journey ahead.

What should you be doing right now?

  • You should have already identified an internal team, undertaken a 'self-audit', reviewed your personal indemnity insurance policy and/or engaged with your broker regarding potential insurance coverage.
  • Engage a barrister (and of course retain a law firm) and consider witnesses who may be called on behalf of your organisation.
  • Based upon the Terms of Reference, we believe the following categories of documents will be relevant and you should start collation of these documents – accreditation outcomes/performance; complaints/incidents (particularly those involving regulators); policy docs; resident agreement; ACFI assessments; workforce ratios and rates of pay; regulatory/prudential compliance; board papers/briefing – these should be collated and examined to consider points of potential exposure.

These are just the starting point.

We expect that the Commission will be run by case studies and by reference to statistical evidence (as the Financial Services Royal Commission has been). 

Please get in touch if you have any questions. We are available immediately to assist you with exploring your position in respect of the Royal Commission.

Royal Commission: Aged Care Quality and Safety

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