Submission to Department of Health and Aged Care on a new model for regulating aged care ‘Consultation Paper No. 1’

This submission is the COTA Australia response to a high-level consultation paper outlining key elements of the new Aged Care Regulatory Model and how it will be applied. The submission response is Stage 2 of a four-part consultation process being undertaken by the Department of Health and Aged Care on the new model.

Our submission provides specific feedback is provided on safeguarding, registration, complaints, enforcement and information and support to consumers.

Key messages in our submission are:

  • We need to see more detail on key regulatory elements particularly an overview of what is new and how the model is rights-based and person-centred.
  • The definition of safeguarding is inadequate.  We want to see discussion on the importance of safeguarding in providing both protection and dignity and autonomy to older people in aged care,
  • We need more detail and clarification on the approach to lower level or low risk services (e.g., lawn mowing or house cleaning only).  We can’t support a way forward without understanding more about the proposed registration process and requirements.  We have argued for an aged care registration process and requirements that are in line with the NDIS approach and aligned across the care sectors.
  • We support a consistent national Care and Support Sector Code of Conduct that has a clearly defined scope and consistent process that establishes the behaviours, practice and culture of aged care services including management, governing persons, and workers.
  • Lower level or low risk services with intermittent and/or minimum face-to-face contact with consumers should not have to meet the Standards for an approved provider but should be subject to the Code of Conduct.
  • The management of complaints and the complaints process as an integral component of market oversight. There is a distinct lack of detail about complaints and the complaints process in the consultation paper.
  • More details could have been provided about information and support for consumers.

COTA Australia acknowledges that further consultation papers will be provided by the Department of Health and Aged Care on key elements of the new regulatory model, and we look forward to making further submissions.