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Saturday, April 13, 2024

National Seniors call for full inquiry

National Seniors Australia has urged the Federal Government to liaise with the Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety to expand its role to investigate the worsening crisis in Victoria’s aged care system.

Australia’s peak consumer and advocacy group for older Australians was responding to a statement from Tony Pagone QC, Commissioner of the Royal Commission yesterday that it was “not able, and is not intending, to conduct a full inquiry into that impact.”

National Seniors CEO, Professor John McCallum noted the Commissioner had pointed out the Royal
Commission neither had the time nor resources to “do justice” to a full inquiry.

“I agree with the Commissioner that this crisis is moving at a rapid rate and under current resources it would not cope with the demands of a full inquiry,” Prof McCallum said.

“However, with extra resources, an appropriate timeline and a proper brief, the Royal Commission is the best and most able body to carry out an investigation as to what went so tragically wrong.”

Prof McCallum said whether it’s a separate Royal Commission inquiry or an extension of the existing Royal Commission, “an inquiry of some magnitude has to be done and fast”.

“We said after the Newmarch deaths that lessons have to be learnt and the aged care sector had to move
quickly and have aged care patients treated appropriately after what was alleged to have happened at the
western Sydney facility.”

“Sadly, it appears those lessons have not been learnt and whether it’s a lack of training of staff or lack of
resources it appears the same issues have resurfaced in this much bigger crisis.

“It’s hard to think that the Royal Commission is complete if it hasn’t examined the stress test that COVID-19 has placed on the sector,” he said.

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