This submission provides the COTA Australia response to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) Capability Review as recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The regulator must have the capacity to safeguard the quality and safety of aged care through ensuring provider compliance with the Act and Standards. This should be achieved by actively engaging with older people and their families and carers.
As referenced by the Royal Commission, it is unlikely, despite some recent substantial increases in funding, that the Commission has sufficient resources to perform its current tasks and take on all the new responsibilities resulting from the Government’s aged care reform agenda.
It is critical that the new regulatory framework for aged care currently being developed and consulted on by the Department informs the significant changes required to enhance and expand current regulatory capacity.
The recommendations of the review should provide additional resources for the engagement and development of a skilled and dedicated compliance and enforcement workforce with the regulatory and investigatory skills, clinical knowledge, assessment skills, and enforcement skills required for the Authority to meet its regulatory mandate.
Older people, their families and carers seek a strongly resourced and independent aged care regulator. COTA Australia has long argued for a stronger regulator with increased capability and capacity to:
- act quickly against poor providers
- address poor leadership and service culture
- enhance clinical governance
- build staff numbers and quality.
Older people should be able to assume that safety and basic quality is a given, and if that is not the case, the provider will be heavily sanctioned. The regulator should flex its regulatory muscle and impose severe sanctions for non-compliance with the basics.
Improving quality and compliance in home care should be a specific focus of the regulator. The implementation of a new and integrated in-home program provides an opportunity for greater oversight, monitoring and compliance action.