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New statutory agency to investigate systemic issues in aged care


Matt Woodley


20/10/2023 3:14:51 PM

The new authority, recommended by the royal commission, will identify issues and report to the Australian Parliament.

Older person's hands being held by younger person.
The Office of the Inspector-General of Aged Care will aim to ensure Australia’s older people can get the care they need.

An independent statutory authority called the Office of the Inspector-General of Aged Care has been established, with the goal of ensuring Australia’s older people can get the care they need.
 
Recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the authority will report to Parliament and aim to identify problems and areas for improvement.
 
Given ‘many system issues requiring investigation persist’, Dr Anthony Marinucci, Chair of RACGP Specific Interests Aged Care, hopes it will make a difference.
 
‘It is a fully independent body which has been given the appropriate legislative powers to perform said investigation,’ he told newsGP.
 
‘[However], I also remain sceptical. Often agency upon agency can create further bureaucracy and impediments to change.
 
‘Ultimately any mechanism which leads to improved transparency and outcomes, should be supported.’
 
Given authority via the Inspector-General of Aged Care Act 2023, the agency has powers to:

  • investigate systemic issues across the aged care system, including complaints management processes
  • report on the Federal Government’s implementation of the recommendations from the royal commission’s final report.
Associate Professor Paresh Dawda, a member of RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care and a GP with a keen interest in aged care, represented the college at a roundtable that helped inform the new agency.
 
‘It’s another structure,’ he told newsGP. ‘Whether it makes a difference remains to be seen, but it is independent and certainly the conversations at the roundtable were purposeful and with the right intent.
 
‘The statutory nature and independence of government and political party means it creates an accountability structure which is positive.’
 
Ian Yates, former Chief Executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA), will continue as acting Inspector-General while the Government completes the selection process to appoint a permanent successor.
 
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