Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
The submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
Recent public reports and inquiries have identified serious concerns about the quality of care provided, including to some of the Australian community’s most vulnerable people.1 These concerns have intensified amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has emphasised the vulnerabilities of older persons and posed additional challenges for the delivery of care.
As an overarching comment, the Law Council notes that recent aged care reforms have promoted a ‘more consumer-driven, market-based system’ in line with the Aged Care Sector Committee’s Aged Care Roadmap.2 It is of the view that a framework based on an informed recognition of inherent human rights is more appropriate for a system that seeks to ensure the right of older persons to long-term care and support, rather than a consumer-focused system with some checks and balances. It submits that a federal charter of human rights would be one overarching tool in facilitating such an approach.
The Law Council considers that in addition to a federal human rights act, much can be done to strengthen Australia’s aged care system. Despite new laws to minimise the use of restrictive practices, the Law Council is concerned that these practices continue to be used as a first-line response by aged care providers to manage challenging behaviours. In this submission, it calls for stronger and more consistent regulation in line with the strict rules implemented in the disability services sector.
You can read the full submission below.
1 See eg, Kate Carnell AO and Rob Paterson ONZM, ‘Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes’ (October 2017) 73.
2 Commonwealth Government, Aged Care Sector Committee, Aged care reform roadmap, 2016.