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Royal Commission set to look into aged care quality and safety

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The AMA has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to launch a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Royal Commission is expected to investigate the quality of care in private and government-run aged care homes following the exposure of cases of neglect, elder abuse, and a lack of staff.

The ABC’s Four Corners program will screen a two-part investigation into the treatment of older Australians in aged care homes.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said that the AMA has for many years voiced serious concerns about the care being given to older Australians, and the lack of resourcing to a sector that provides care to people who deserve special support at a vulnerable time in their lives.

“The AMA has long called for reform of the aged care sector,” Dr Bartone, a GP in Melbourne who regularly visits residential aged care facilities, said.

“There is a serious lack of resources. There is a serious lack of staff. And there is a serious lack of coordination between all the sectors involved in caring for older Australians.”

Dr Bartone said it was a certainity that the Royal Commission will uncover uncomfortable and distressing stories, and systemic failures.

“The AMA has made consistent and repeated approaches to Government about the need for better resourcing and regulation of the aged care sector,” he said.

“The most recent AMA Aged Care Survey found that one in three doctors plan to cut back on or completely end their visits to patients in residential aged care facilities over the next two years. The Survey also found there are not enough suitably trained and experienced nurses in aged care.

“There must be proper planning to ensure that medical, nursing, and other specialised care are built into the design and operation of aged care facilities.

“The AMA hopes that the Royal Commission will give victims a voice, and lead to real reform of a sector that has been woefully neglected for decades.

“We need to see the ‘care’ put back into aged care.”