High profile law firm Slater & Gordon has confirmed it is investigating a possible class action against the Commonwealth’s Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Scheme over the alleged improper accreditation of facilities and mishandling of complaints.
Lawyer Andrew Baker said the firm had been approached by a number of people over the last week and the investigations were being undertaken on their behalf.
The potential legal action relates to accusations of mistreatment and serious injury arising from failed complaints handling by the scheme or facility accreditation that was inappropriately given or renewed by the accreditation agency.
“We have been approached by people who have had a relative harmed or mistreated in an aged care facility, who believe these incidents could have been avoided if earlier complaints had been handled better, or where the facility in question shouldn’t have had its accreditation granted or renewed in the first place,” Mr Baker said.
“Residents of aged care facilities often find themselves in a vulnerable position and it appears that the systems put in place to protect them, in some cases, may not be adequately responding to their needs.”
The law firm said it intends to investigate the full range of legal options for residents and their families and called for others in a similar situation to come forward.
Mr Baker said the Commonwealth could face a potential class action if it could be proved that it failed in its duty of care to protect the rights of these residents.
The possible action follows a series of reports on the ABC’s Lateline program broadcasting disturbing cases of abuse, neglect and poor standards of care in more than 100 aged care homes.