The aged care royal commission has announced it will suspend all hearings and workshops in response to the evolving coronavirus pandemic.
The decision, made by aged care royal commissioners Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs, affects all hearings and workshops in the current schedule until at least the end of May 2020.
The suspension, which was announced last Friday, also applies to group consultations which the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety staff have been conducting as part of their stakeholder engagement work.
“There has been no decision as yet about remote hearings,” a spokesperson for the royal commission told Australian Ageing Agenda in response to a question about alternatives to face-to-face hearings.
The aged care royal commissioners said the health and wellbeing of staff was critically important.
“Meaningful engagement with the sector is paramount to the work of the royal commission’s inquiry into aged care quality and safety, which is why we have decided to suspend all hearings and workshops,” the royal commissioners said in a statement.
“We must allow service providers and government to focus fully on their response to the pandemic,” they said.
The commissioners are carefully considering this decision’s implications on their continuing and future work program, which will be informed by public health advice, the statement said.
The next hearing scheduled to take place was to be held on 30-31 March in Adelaide and focus on how mental and oral health and allied healthcare could be improved for people accessing aged care services.
Submission deadline extended
The royal commission has extended the deadline for submissions by two months to 30 June 2020.
According to the royal commission’s website, there have been 8,191 submissions to date.
The new end date for submission date, announced on 24 March, is the second extension granted for submissions. The first was announced in October 2019 (read more here).
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