Apr 27, 2023

Government seeks advice on new model of regulating aged care amid reform concerns

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Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells with Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Patrick Gorman and aged care resident, Maggie. [Source: Twitter]

The Federal Government has announced it is looking to form a new model of regulating the aged care industry as the sector screams it isn’t equipped to implement new regulations that were due to come into effect in the next few months.

After multiple providers announced they would be closing their doors because they lacked resources to enforce the new reforms, the Government has now released a second Consultation Paper seeking feedback from those in the sector in order to guide the new Aged Care Act.

The reforms included the heavily debated 24/7 Registered Nurse (RN) mandates being enforced on July 1 and providing every aged care resident 200 minutes of care a day by the start of October – recommendations proposed by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

But the reforms were flagged by providers, workers and experts as a steep feat given the sector’s workforce shortages and stricter compliance measures.

The Government acknowledged these challenges would hinder the implementation of the new requirements and is now looking to fix the situation with the help of stakeholder feedback.

The Australian suggested the Government is working with the University of Wollongong for consultancy services to “refine” the 24/7 nursing mandate exemption policy and to develop “alternative ­arrangements” to support aged care residents when an RN is not available, particularly in rural and remote settings.

Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, met with the Commission last week to ensure they will be regulating the reforms fairly and properly.

“I welcome the Commission’s assurance… that [it] will take a fair and sensible approach to the regulation of these requirements,” Ms Wells wrote in a published letter to the Commission.

“In particular, I look forward to the Commission now implementing its stated approach that it will not initiate enforceable regulatory action where a provider can prove it is making ongoing efforts to comply and is effectively managing risks and providing safe and quality care to residents.”

An interim report is said to be handed to the Government at the end of May and a final report is expected this year. 

An information webinar about the new proposed reforms will be held on the Health Department’s website on May 9 which has an opportunity to submit questions. 

Visit the Aged Care Engagement Hub for details on submitting your feedback or email your submission to agedcareregmodel@health.gov.au

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