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Families in Lateline report deserve answers: Laverty



Martin Laverty CEO of Catholic Health Australia said government rationing of aged care services protected poor quality providers.

By Natasha Egan and Linda Belardi.

The families featured in Monday night’s Lateline report deserve answers, says Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty, but another large-scale inquiry into aged care is unnecessary..

Addressing the HISA conference in Adelaide on Wednesday, Mr Laverty said he had been inundated with enquires from the mainstream media in response to the worrying report, but he called for calm on the need for a broader investigation into the operation of both the aged care system and the accreditation standards.

Lateline on Monday night aired some very worrying concerns about the safety of a number of Australians in aged care services,” said Mr Laverty. “These individual matters warrant the urgent attention of the aged care accreditation agency, they warrant the attention of the aged care complaints scheme and the families involved deserve answers,” he said.

“We must ensure for those that have found either themselves, a loved one or family member in circumstances where the care that has been delivered to them has not been of sufficient quality and standard, that those individual concerns are addressed.” 

However, he reiterated that what Lateline revealed was not his experience of the broader system and that aged care is one of the most overregulated human services in the country.

“My experience of aged care is a group of dedicated individuals, health professionals, care givers and administrators actually committed to the safety, health and wellbeing of older Australians,” he said. 

Government rationing ‘protects poor quality providers’

He said while robust regulation and oversight of aged care services was critical, consumers also deserved the right to choose where they receive their services.

“So much of what we see occurring in circumstances where aged care services may not be meeting consumer expectations, is the struggling with the reality of government rations,” said Mr Laverty.

He said that without free market competition providers that are not sufficiently resourced or providing sufficient quality services do not find themselves pushed out of the market.

“Whenever you have a ration in place, that is protecting those providers that aren’t meeting consumer expectations, you are likely to see the most unfortunate circumstances that we are now having Lateline focus on.”

ACSA CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly also rejected the idea of a Royal Commission inquiry into aged care saying the problems were familiar and the money and time would be better spent reforming the system immediately.

Emeritus Professor Rhonda Nay from La Trobe University said another investigation was not necessary. Instead, she said tackling social attitudes and values through a major public education campaign, similar to the AIDS campaign, was needed to remove the general stigma related to older people and to address elder abuse in all its forms.

Read AAA’s coverage of the Lateline report and other reaction – ‘Aged care under fire’ 



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0 Responses to Families in Lateline report deserve answers: Laverty

  1. Joy July 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Martin Laverty!! You are minimizing the situation. How dare you? It is not just a certain number of families. This situation is widespread and entrenched throughout the aged care system. Even the very best of Nursing Homes is NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!. Many Elderly people have no voice, some do not have families to speak out for them and many (such as those with dementia) are unable to communicate what is happening to them. They are as helpless as infants and need to have services that offer the same degree of supervision and care as that vulnerable group. I am a clinical nurse who has witnessed the gross inadequacies of our aged care system in a variety of organisations over many years. Thank you Lateline for highlighting this issue and putting the minister on the spot. I noticed that in her response the minister focused very much on the patient with wounds. There are much worse and often less visible issues that are suffered through staff ignorance, negligence and abuse. We urgently need professional, appropriately trained staff in sufficent numbers to address these issues.I hope that people like Mr. Laverty who deny the horror of our aged care system get to experience it for themselves.

  2. Gerard Butler July 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Agree wholeheartedly with the last comment once again the focus of so called improvement is felt on the floor whilst the corporate head offices in both the not for profits and the corporates get bigger and more corporate the clients and careers on the floor are subject to ongoing hours reviews or audits.

    The legal representation is always from the top end of town and unions are very busy exerting influence on a range of government financing and employment review bodies

    Once again it’s every except the industry’s fault.

    Who in the industry wants to be in residential aged care orvwants their parents or partners in care. Perhaps all industry executives and board members should spend a week living in Residential aged care and see at first hand the indignities inflicted on clients and careers.

    It’s not rocket science it’s about providing care security dignity and respect not making a dollar.

    Unfortunately self reflection and compassion left the building some time ago.

  3. Jonh July 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    The comments of the reader below are completely unjustified and if she has witnessed the so called inadequacies she alludes to and has done nothing about it. She should hand in her nursing licences as she is an accomplice to the act (if it even happened). We have a fantastic complaints procedure in the RACF my mother lives in. And if I ever have a problem that the aged care provider won’t listen to I could go straight to DOHA. Though I have had no need to!The aged care system in Australia is not perfect, but we are a user pay society and you get what you pay for.How much more is the reader bellowing willing to pay in her taxes to have the same staffing levels as a Hospital??Is that what is needed another overpriced wasteful botched health service as so many of states now run. And on that note is the clinical nurse reader aware of the massive funding difference for a resident in a RACF compared to a hospital. I believe it is as much as $800 per day difference fo r the same type of care.\r\nIs she also aware that hospitals are the biggest cause of the injuries to aged care residents and that hospitals send them back to the RACF without even telling them that the resident was injured in the hospital and under the hospitals duty of care.My mother receives outstanding care in the RACF she calls home, we could not afford aged care if it was priced the same as hospitals.So before the clinical nurse reader makes a across the industry comparison I think she needs to get out and work in some more. Or does she work for the unions and looking to for a way to get a pay increase??Nothing wrong with Aged Care in Australia.

  4. Drew Dwyer July 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    The investigation needs to be focused on what it is we want to achieve in the act of caring for our frail and vulnerable elderly. To be honest this is as much the general publics fault as it is the government. No one wants to pay, no one wants to do, every one wants what’s best, for who?
    The inherited estate?, the nation?, the image? , the brand?, it all laughable. I for one am tired of hearing all the rhetoric around giving the “perfect person centered care” and yet we neglect the truth of what it is that drives the machine.
    There are plenty of experts in the sector, some of us prepared to do what ever it takes. The PM needs to get them together so they can fix this abomination that has been created. There is nothing wrong with residential aged care except for the funding and the overregulation. There is plenty wrong with they way society actually and truly respects its elderly. By the way……we are all going in the same direction.

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