Client Update
Aged Care

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Overview

On 16 September 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the decision to request that the Governor-General establish a Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety.

The Honourable Justice Joseph McGrath and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO have been appointed Commissioners. Justice McGrath is a Judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Ms Briggs is a former CEO of Medicare and Australian Public Service Commissioner. Whilst stakeholders from all over Australia will play a pivotal role in the inquiry, it will be based in Adelaide, South Australia. The Royal Commission's interim report is to be provided by 31 October 2019 with its final report by 30 April 2020.

Additionally, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018 was passed by both houses on 27 November 2018. The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will replace the existing Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and Aged Care Complaints Commissioner from 1 January 2019.

What are the Royal Commission's terms of reference?

The terms of reference were announced on 9 October 2018 and the scope of the inquiry is extensive.

In summary, the Royal Commission will inquire into the following:

  1. The quality of care provided to Australians, and the extent of substandard care.

  2. How best to deliver aged care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, and the increasing number of Australians living with dementia.

  3. The future challenges and opportunities for delivering affordable, high quality aged care services in Australia.

  4. How to ensure that aged care services are consumer centred, including allowing people greater choice, control and independence in relation to their care.

  5. How to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way.

  6. Any other matters that the Royal commission considers necessary.

How will the Royal Commission affect you?

You may decide to make a submission to the Royal Commission, or alternatively the Royal Commission may seek information from you. The Royal Commission has broad information gathering powers to assist with its inquiry and recommendations.

Last Friday the appointed Commissioners of the Royal Commission issued their first letter to approved providers requesting that they provide detailed responses in relation to any occasions where the provider may have provided "substandard care" since July 2013.

We understand that letters are expected to be delivered to larger aged care providers this week, with the smaller providers expecting to receive letters next week. The larger providers are required to comply with the request for information by 7 January 2019, with the smaller providers expected to meet a mid-February deadline.

How can Fisher Jeffries assist?

Fisher Jeffries is well equipped to assist in preparing for and providing support services during the upcoming Royal Commission, including:

  1. The implementation of protocols for communications (internal and external).

  2. Assisting with the gathering of information for response to requests to provide information.

  3. Preparation of submissions.

  4. Preparation of witness statements.

  5. Preparing witnesses summonsed to appear and give evidence at a hearing.

  6. Advising on immediate and ongoing legal issues arising out of the Royal Commission's inquiries and findings.

Further Information

A government website has been set up specifically for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. It provides a subscription service and information about hearings, the terms of reference and any media releases.

You can access it here: https://agedcare.royalcommissi...

Contact

To further discuss the Royal Commission, and how we can assist you, please contact a member of our Aged Care and Retirement Living team.

IMPORTANT: The material contained in this newsletter is general comment only and is not intended as advice on a particular matter. No reader should act on the basis of any material contained in this newsletter without taking appropriate professional advice.