Feb 05, 2020

Bupa Nursing Home Fails All Eight Quality Standards

When is enough, enough?

Over the last four years, more than half of Bupa’s aged care homes around the country have failed to meet the basic standards of care for elderly Australians.

With more than 70 homes and almost 6,500 residents in Australia, it’s unbelievable to think that a provider that cares for such a large percentage of this country’s aged care residents could have a reputation that is synonymous with poor care

Another three Bupa homes in NSW have recently failed quality audits, including Bupa Tamworth which did so poorly that it managed to fail all eight of the new aged care quality standards.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission registered a “serious risk decision” against Bupa Tamworth. The commission found that residents were not being treated with respect and are too often being restrained.

The two other homes that recently failed quality audits are Bupa’s Banora Point and Tumut facilities.

Bupa’s facility at Banora Point failed to meet standards involving risk management – including responding to the abuse and neglect of residents, while Bupa’s Tumut facility was found to have failed in its duty to provide suitable meals and minimise the risk of infection.

Bupa’s track record in the Australian aged care sector is nothing short of appalling at this point, and the sheer volume of repeated failures without any significant consequence has raised concerns that Bupa is receiving preferential treatment from the federal government.

Over the years, a number of smaller providers have been forced to shut down operations due to consistently failing to meet standards, including ARK Health Care who were forced to sell in 2018 after failing to meet standards in their NSW-based homes.

Yet somehow, Bupa who had 45 of their 72 nursing homes fail to meet standards last year have managed to retain their accreditation status.

If this wasn’t bad enough, last year the government actually awarded BUPA with an extremely lucrative Defense Force contract, that will see them delivering health services to over 80,000 ADF members and reservists.

In September of last year, Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck described Bupa’s “persistent failure” to meet standards as “simply unacceptable,” declaring that he and the Department of Health were “closely monitoring” Bupa’s performance.

Bupa’s CEO, Hisham El-Ansary, apologised for the provider’s failings in an interview on the ABC last year, stating that Bupa “were capable of much better” and working hard to restore confidence in their services.

Yet despite this talk from the Aged Care Minister and Bupa’s CEO, the four months following those statements have yielded even more Bupa failings.

There have been so many negative stories involving Bupa Aged Care over the last 12 months that information regarding fresh scandals or care-failings barely raises an eyebrow from the general public anymore.

As sexual assaults, violence, residents with maggots in their wounds, scabies, and staff using a resident’s credit card, are only a sample of the atrocities that Bupa residents have been subjected to.

These stories also have a negative effect on the majority of hardworking aged care staff who find themselves facing backlash for the failings of a greedy corporate entity and a government that refuses to protect its elderly people.

Photo courtesy of iStock: credit – urbazon

This photo does not depict people or places contained within the body of this article.

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  1. So bloody shocking it`s hard to believe this can go on. Bupa needs to lift it`s game and take care who is hired to care for our elderly. The greed of these organisations and the bastards that get paid the big bucks makes me sick. The carers are not given enough time to look after these poor darling properly and there should be more staff.

  2. Why is BUPA given preferential treatment? Are their donations to parliamentary parties more impressive than others ? I cannot understand why other aged care organisations do not demand that some action be taken against Bupa before the sector as a whole has its reputation shredded. They are making it even harder for residential aged care facilities to be regarded as “caring” members of the community.

  3. It has been reported (the Guardian) that BUPA (like others including Opal Care) has complex tax arrangements including their homes in Australia paying ‘rent’ for their facilities to a parent company – based in the UK in BUPA’s case. This means that tax contributions that need to be paid in Australia are greatly reduced. I have also heard that the CEO of the ‘parent’ company is paid a eye-watering amount of money. How can that possibly be benefiting the residents in Australia who are facing malnutrition on less than $10 a day for all food and drinks as well as poor care ? Even if the CEO wage is an overestimate, the tax arrangements are not ‘illegal’, but are they moral? If the tax that companies which employ such (‘legitimate’) avoidance tactics were instead able to be recouped by the Australian govt, that could support additional funding desperately needed for more staff and better resources for residents and those receiving community support.
    I see people malnourished all the time – sometimes its because of poor quality food alone, more often its because the food doesn’t get to the people needing in it in state that encourages intake. There is a lot of focus on preparing great food – employing chefs etc – but that’s not the answer – it’s merely one part of the picture. Food is not nutrition unless its eaten. Many providers are resistant to supporting dietitians in aged care in the way they need to be to make sure food is not only good quality, but is nutritionally adequate and also gets eaten and enjoyed. The govt must fund proper nutrition support – for the dignity and quality of life for those in care as well as to support their health and capacity.
    BUPA might apologise, but I have seen little change on the ground. If the government doesn’t act to make providers accountable not only for the care of residents, but also for transparency in the way the money they receive is spent and where any profits go, surely then at the very least, malnutrition is government sanctioned abuse by neglect ? Better funding is desperately needed and it is outrageous if funds intended to support those in care end up profiting companies outside the country. Its time for transparency and accountability.
    A frustrated Aged Care Dietitian


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