Website to list non-compliance and sanctions

All sanctioned and non-compliant homes will be listed on a government webpage for consumers.

All non-compliant and sanctioned aged care facilities will be publicly listed on a government website from July this year.

In a bid to improve consumer choice, an updated version of the agedcareaustralia.gov.au site will feature information about the compliance and safety standards of Commonwealth-approved facilities.

The site will list all homes that have been sanctioned or received a notice of non-compliance in the previous 12 months.

The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot said the decision to publicise the information on the popular consumer webpage was made in response to calls for greater accountability from consumer groups.

It also comes two days after the release of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s report on the health system, which called for the publication of standardised information on the quality of aged care providers.

“Choosing an aged care home can be very difficult and families deserve this information – especially when they are making one of the toughest decisions of their lives,” said Mrs Elliot.

“It is about helping families to make informed decisions for their loved ones.”

The minister acknowledged that the majority of providers do an excellent job but said the Rudd Government would act quickly when action is required.

The announcement has been applauded by Lillian Jeter from the Elder Abuse Prevention Association.

“In the long run it is a consumer’s business to determine quality of care and the more information that comes down to public the better,” she said.

The CEO of Aged Care Queensland, Anton Kardash agreed with this premise but said he was uncertain about the validity of the current quality system.

“You have to subscribe to the principle of transparency and the capacity for consumers to look at the quality of services,” he said.

“But that presupposes that the system is a good system – and we know it’s not a good system.”

“There have to be assurances that the quality systems are robust before you feel comfortable that consumers are being provided with accurate information.”

Mr Kardash is particularly worried that information will not be readily updated or sufficiently explained.

“Our members often find that quality issues can be addressed very quickly but that is not necessarily reported,” he said.

“I actually believe the data would have to be changed daily if it really were to be accurate.”

The responsibility for updating the public information will lie with the Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance within the Department of Health and Ageing.

The government will consult with the Ageing Consultative Committee about the plan’s implementation and the department will accept submissions until 17 April.

Submissions can be sent to: Compliance Support Section, Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance, Department of Health and Ageing, MDP 68, GPO Box 9848, CANBERRA ACT 2601.

Alternatively, they can be emailed to: acc@health.gov.au

Anton Kardash has a column about the accreditation and quality systems in the upcoming March/April print edition of Australian Ageing Agenda.

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