Dec 17, 2020

Pressure mounts on government to release report on devastating aged care COVID-19 outbreaks


The federal government is coming under increasing pressure for not releasing the review it commissioned into COVID-19 outbreaks at St Basil’s and Epping Gardens during Victoria’s  devastating second wave. 

The review, which was conducted by Professor Lyn Gilbert and Adjunct Professor Alan Lilly, who also conducted the review of Newmarch house, was handed to the government last month.

But, at the time of writing, the report has still not been made available to the public.

A spokesperson for the Minister told HelloCare the report will be made available before Christmas.

“The report into the outbreaks at St Basils and Epping Gardens has been received by the Department and is currently going through a clearance process before its public release. 

“This includes a review by the AHPPC Aged Care Advisory Group and the AHPPC,” the spokesperson said.

When first announced, the government said the report would be published “shortly after completion”.

The review was commissioned to look into the impact, management and causes of the outbreaks at the homes, and to draw lessons that could inform future policy.

Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors, Julie Collins MP, said, “The Morrison Government must immediately release the independent reports it commissioned into outbreaks of COVID-19 in St Basil’s and Epping Gardens aged care homes. 

“Why aren’t these reports being made public immediately when we know the tragic risks of COVID-19 in aged care? What is the Morrison Government hiding?”

Collins said families who lost loved ones during the outbreaks “deserve answers”.

“It is vitally important that all aged care providers across the country have the benefit of these reviews so lessons can be learnt and applied,” she said.

Failing to properly prepare for the pandemic has had “devastating consequences”, she said. 

“Some families and loved ones were forced to say goodbye over FaceTime.

“Ants have been found crawling from wounds, with residents left to languish without care. 

“All because the Morrison Government failed to have a proper plan for COVID-19 in aged care,” Ms Collins said.

Note: This article was edited at 6pm to include an update from the Minister.


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