Feds Start Aged Care ‘Red Tape Reduction’ Trial
10 October 2014 at 2:55 pm
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has launched a trial which he says aims to cut red tape in the aged sector, in a move that has been panned by a peak body working in the field.
Andrews said today that the trial would take place in South Australia and that it was part of the Government’s plan to reduce the cost of regulation by at least $1 billion.
“This South Australian Innovation Hub trial was developed in consultation with local providers to help aged care workers provide quality care in exchange for reduced Government regulation,” Andrews said.
“By helping to lighten the unnecessary administrative burden on aged care staff, providers can put a greater focus on the safety and wellbeing of care recipients.
“The Hub will give greater autonomy to providers and build the voice of consumers into the design and delivery of care by seeking the views of care recipients and their families.”
“For older people and their families this could mean having a greater say in daily activities such as meal planning, building works and ways to improve services.
“For providers that meet certain performance criteria and consistently demonstrate high levels of care, participation in the Hub will lighten unnecessary administrative burden.”
But Charmaine Crowe from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) of NSW said the plan would end up costing taxpayers more in the long run.
“Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews’ plan is to wave through any nursing home for accreditation if they have previously passed ‘quality of care’ audits. Since 2006, 90 per cent of nursing homes have passed their quality of care audits,” Crowe said.
“Kevin Andrews’ idea to get rid of unnecessary red tape in nursing homes is muddle-headed, because the red tape of quality of care audits is there for a reason- to protect vulnerable and frail elderly people.
“Quality of care audits are not unnecessary red tape, although Blind Freddie can see that these audits are inadequate. However, that is an argument for strengthening quality of care audits, not for abolishing them, which is what Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews wants to do to loud cheers from profit-hungry aged care providers.
“Minister Kevin Andrews also seems to have forgotten that aged care providers rorted the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) to the tune of an estimated $1 billion a year. Easing ACFI reporting requirements is going to cost the taxpayer money and lots of it”
Minister Andrews said the proposed changes to aged care were “essential if they are going to maintain high standards of care”.
He said the trial will look at offering more efficient assessment of accreditation standards, and more appropriate financial reporting and Aged Care Funding Instrument Reviews.
Andrews said an independent evaluation of the trial will be held and if successful, the Hub initiatives may be rolled out across Australia.