Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) is working with Australian Catholic University (ACU) to measure the cost of the multiple compliance regimes in aged care.

The association’s CEO, Rod Young says aged care providers have been hit by a barrage of compliance activities in recent years, lowering staff morale and interrupting daily care provision.

“Our staff are constantly being hit with accusations and allegations even when they are doing the right thing,” said Mr Young.

“When there is a complaint, departmental officers turn up and point the finger at them until they can prove they did nothing wrong.”

The online survey being conducted by ACU will focus on the amount of time lost to quality monitoring and responding to complaints.

It will cover a wide range of agencies including the Department of Health and Ageing’s Complaints Investigation Scheme, the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency and even the police.

Mr Young said the number of senior staff who had left the industry in the past 12 months as a result of negative treatment from external agencies, was “alarming”.

“On current predictions the industry is on a downward spiral to nowhere,” he said.

“If staff keep leaving, especially senior staff, there are going to be more and more failures and that will further affect morale.

“No-one in the acute hospitals gets treated likes this and no-one in ‘GP land’ gets treated like this.”

Mr Young stressed that the industry acknowledges the need for compliance systems but he said providers object to the manner in which complaints are investigated.

“We are not asking that the big stick be removed because it is needed occasionally,” he said.

“What we are asking is that these agencies treat our staff with fairness, transparency and equity.”

If enough surveys are completed by the end of May, a final report should be ready in late June.

Click here to find out more about the survey or to take part.

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