Yesterday marked three months since the Code of Conduct for Aged Care was implemented in the sector which also included the establishment of a register of banned aged care workers due to malpractice.
On December 1 last year, the sector-wide Code of Conduct was rolled out and handed the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) the power to issue Banning Orders on individual workers and lodge their information on their Aged Care Banning Order Register to keep negligent staff from working with vulnerable older people.
In 2019, an independent national registration body for aged care workers was established to address the issues of neglect, abuse and poor care of older people found through the Aged Care Royal Commission but it was opt-in and aged care workers needed to sign up themselves.
Aimed to help curb instances of neglect and low-quality care, and demand more compliance and transparency from providers, the Code and the Banning Order Register was backed by industry stakeholders.
But the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) said that the introduction of the Code has not caused any significant changes thus far for most providers as they have already outlined appropriate standards of conduct in their business models.
“We know that most aged care workers already live and work to these principles,” said ACWIC Deputy Chair, Graeme Prior.
“In severe cases of inappropriate behaviour, the ACQSC has banned individuals from working in the sector and published their details in an online register.
“I encourage everyone involved in the sector to ensure they are aware of and comply with the expected behaviours.”
The Department of Health and Aged Care maintains that while it is still early days, the Code provides reassurance to the community that aged care providers and their workers are keeping older people safe and treating them with respect.
“This is a positive step forward in terms of building confidence and trust in the aged care sector by ensuring there are proportionate and effective consequences for the small minority of people who are not doing the right thing,” a Department Spokesperson said.
They also explained that every aged care provider has a responsibility to check the Register to ensure that “unsuitable individuals who are banned from the sector are not engaged for employment,” and that providers who fail to take reasonable steps to prevent breaches of a Banning Order may have action taken against them by ACQSC for breaches of civil penalty provisions.
What do you think about the Banning Order Register? Is it fair? Let us know in the comments below.