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03 Dec 2018

Australia’s first independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has been approved by the Federal Parliament, with legislation passing in November.

It will begin operations on January 1, 2019.

In addition, a Chief Clinical Advisor will be appointed to assist the new Commission.

The Advisor role was created following strong advocacy from the AMA for such a role.

The Federal Government amended its Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018 to formally enshrine the position of Chief Clinical Advisor to assist the new Commissioner.

The Health Department has confirmed that the Chief Clinical Advisor will be a doctor.

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said the AMA insisted that a Chief Clinical Advisor had to be appointed and that the role be filled by a medical professional.

“The Carnell-Paterson Review, which was initiated in response to the shocking failures at the Oakden facility in South Australia, recommended establishing an independent aged care Commission to centralise regulation,” Dr Bartone said.

“The AMA has continuously called for the establishment of a Commission that provides a clear, well-communicated governance hierarchy, which brings leadership and accountability to the aged care system.

“In our Position Statement on Resourcing Aged Care, in our submission to the Inquiry into the Bill, and during our public evidence to the Inquiry, the AMA consistently argued that having a Chief Clinical Advisor is an absolute must for the Commission.

“Further, the AMA argued that the Chief Clinical Advisor must be a registered medical practitioner, ideally either a GP or a geriatrician, with strong expertise in aged care.

“Doctors are the primary coordinators and providers of clinical care to older people, and are best placed to fill the Advisor role.

“The AMA has for some time advocated for more consideration of clinical matters when regulating the aged care sector.

“The AMA looks forward to working with the Commissioner and the Chief Clinical Advisor with a goal to improve older people’s much-needed timely access to quality clinical care.”

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said senior Australians were at the heart of the reforms.

“The role of the Commission will be to implement a strong but fair regulatory framework that will protect and enhance senior Australians’ quality of life, safety, health and wellbeing,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Led by independent Commissioner Janet Anderson, the Commission will better target aged care homes that provide sub-standard care and will be a single, trusted point of contact for aged care recipients, their families and loved ones, and aged care providers.”

The Commissioner will determine the scope of the Advisor’s work, but the role is likely to cover:

  • regulation of, and compliance with, the Aged Care Quality Standards, including provider’s performance in clinical care and governance, and reducing infections and restraint use;
  • complaints resolution; and
  • education to providers and their staff, consumers, and the public, around clinical issues.

The Chief Clinical Advisor, who will support the Commissioner, will themselves be supported by an expert clinical panel.

CHRIS JOHNSON


Published: 03 Dec 2018