The comprehensive report highlights both achievements and critical gaps in the Commission’s performance.
Commending the efforts and insights provided by Tune, Anika Wells expressed her appreciation for the practical and constructive recommendations put forth in the report. With the aim of prioritising and implementing these recommendations, Wells has directed the establishment of a senior-level Steering Group.
“I welcome the practical and constructive recommendations from Mr Tune, and will be carefully considering each of them as a matter of priority,” Wells said in a statement.
Among the urgent matters addressed in Tune’s preliminary and final reports, the 2023–24 Budget includes funding to support critical areas identified in the Capability Review. The funding amounts to $1.3 million for the report’s implementation and an additional $19.8 million allocated to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission for assessors.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson welcomed the report, which will ensure that the Commission continues to strengthen its capability, efficiency and effectiveness in upholding best practice care for older people.
“As implementation decisions are made, the Commission is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders – people receiving aged care and their representatives, providers, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council, the Department of Health and Aged Care, industry bodies, the Interim Inspector General of Aged Care and our staff – to ensure that the changes and improvements we introduce will achieve the desired outcomes,” Anderson said.
She added that the Commission is determined to use the review findings and recommendations as a springboard to strengthen its capability to help lift the standard of care and overall performance of the aged care sector and boost the community’s trust and confidence in aged care services.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), a key advocate for the rights and well-being of older Australians, has wholeheartedly welcomed the release of Tune’s Capability Review.
With a scope encompassing the ACQSC’s performance, organisational culture, governance, skills and capabilities, this review aligns with a key recommendation from the aged care royal commission.
OPAN CEO Craig Gear praised the thoroughness of the review, recognising Tune’s expertise in the field. With 32 comprehensive recommendations to reform and strengthen the aged care regulator, OPAN eagerly anticipates collaborating with stakeholders and the government to implement these vital reforms.
“We will take time to understand the detail in conjunction with older people and their families,” Gear said.
He further emphasised the potential of the Capability Review to significantly improve the experiences of older Australians within the aged care system and the functioning of the regulator. In the pursuit of a fit-for-purpose regulator, Tune’s evidence-based report offers practical measures to bolster existing mechanisms.
Addressing critical capability gaps, the report calls for an urgent review and improvements to the ACQSC’s complaints process and Serious Incident Response Scheme. Specifically, Tune highlights the need for appropriate triaging of complaints, assurance for complainants regarding follow-up actions, and the establishment of public trust in the prioritisation of concerns affecting older Australians.
Gear described the recent appointment of a designated Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, Louise McLeod – which Tune identified as a high priority – as a positive step that would go some way to resolving these issues.
“The capacity to address older people’s concerns and complaints in a timely, proportionate manner is a key driver of quality care,” he said.