Ballarat doctor voices support for sanctioned Kirralee

The July 18 inspection by the Department of Health and Ageing found Kirralee had failed in 33 of 44 minimum standards of care and resulted in the strongest sanctions ever placed on an aged care facility.

“The story so far has been not only one-sided but extremely unfair to the staff,” said Dr Bongiorno, who has had patients at Kirralee for 23 years.

Kirralee executive director Julie Reed blamed poor record keeping for its failure to meet 11 of the standards. Dr Bongiorno said the sanctions would do nothing for patient care but just increase nurse workloads.

“It’s put enormous pressure on them (the staff). I’ve spoken to them and they are as low as can be.”

An independent administrator has been appointed to oversee Kirralee’s operation for six months and bed numbers are being reduced. Dr Bongiorno said, if Kirralee closed, the impact of taking 100 nursing home beds out of Ballarat’s health system would be enormous.

“It’ll just increase the problems in a system already under stress.” 

Dr Bongiorno said the medical condition of Kirralee’s patients, some of whom have terminal illnesses, needed to be taken into account when talking about issues as weight loss.

“I wouldn’t like to think a bureaucrat without a medical background walked in and made such a devastating comment without the entire scenario being included.”

The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency has set a deadline of September 17 for Kirralee to improve its standards or face being stripped of taxpayer funding.

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