The Department of Health has launched a discussion paper and online survey to inform the finer details of a new serious incident scheme for residential aged care.

The consultation also aims to inform advice to Government on the structure and operation of the scheme, legislative requirements and resourcing implications.

The government announced $1.5 million funding to undertake preparatory work in 2019-20 for a new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) in the April Federal Budget, a week after it released a report it commissioned from KPMG outlining five options and a broader range of reportable incidents (read more here).

The preparatory work includes consultation, commencing work on legislative amendments, research into the prevalence of aggression between residents, which is currently exempt from reporting, and a scoping study for a register of aged care staff.

The new SIRS will require providers to identify, manage and resolve serious incidents of abuse or neglect of aged care residents.

The scheme aims to build provider capacity to better respond to incidents if and when they occur.

The model proposed in the discussion paper for defining a serious incident in commonwealth-funded residential aged care covers alleged, suspected or actual:

  • abuse or neglect by an aged care staff member against a resident; and
  • incidents of abuse and aggression between residents.

The approach expands existing compulsory reporting requirements under the Aged Care Act and removes current reporting exemptions.

KPMG is undertaking a national research study into the prevalence of resident on resident incidents, which are exempt from reporting under the current compulsory reporting scheme.

The study, which will take place over four weeks in September 2019, aims to inform design of the SIRS definitions and threshold settings.

The department said it was keen to hear from all interested stakeholders.

The 28-page discussion paper proposes questions throughout.

After completing the first eight questions in the online survey participants can upload a submission document rather than going through the entire survey.

After the consultation period, the department will publish stakeholders’ responses to the survey and a summary of the key themes identified.

Find out more information and make a submission via the department’s consultation hub.

Submissions close 4 October 2019.

Contact KPMG at or on 1800 789 576 to find out more or register for the study.

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