The preparatory work for a new serious incident scheme for aged care announced in this week’s budget includes developing a consultation paper, further research and legislative amendments.

Among the aged care measures in treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s federal budget handed down on Tuesday night is $1.5 million to undertake preparatory work in 2019-20 for a new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS).

No funding has been allocated yet to implement a new SIRS, which is expected to replace the current responsibilities in relation to reportable assaults in the Aged Care Act from July 2022.

As foreshadowed in the options report developed by KMPG and released last week, the budget papers show the new scheme requires residential aged care providers to report a broader range of incidents occurring in their facilities.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the preparatory work included the development of a consultation paper containing finer details of the scheme and two research projects.

Ken Wyatt

“Consultation will form an important part of the preparatory work, building on the consultations with over 130 people, which informed the KPMG report,” Mr Wyatt told Australian Ageing Agenda.

There will also be a study to assess the prevalence of resident-to-resident aggression and create an expanded definition of serious incidents and another study investigating the potential for a register of staff in the aged care industry, Mr Wyatt said.

The preparatory work also involves developing legislative amendments and organisational design to support the development of a cost operating model within the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, he said.

“Further funding to develop and implement the new SIRS will be considered as required,” Mr Wyatt told AAA.

The preparatory work is similar to what KPMG recommended in its report, which outlines five options for a new SIRS, a broader range of reportable incidents and a five-stage plan to prepare and implement a new SIRS (read more here).

Access the Strengthening protections for older Australians – Development of models and options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme for Commonwealth-funded aged care service providers report here.

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