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Australia’s ‘independent’ Aged Care Complaints Commissioner starts work this week, to handle and investigate any complaint relating to a Commonwealth subsidised residential or home-based aged care service.
Supported by a team of 150 people in multiple sites across the country, Ms Rae Lamb has assumed powers for dealing with aged care complaints, after responsibility officially transferred from the Department of Health to a new statutory office on 01 January 2016.
Minister for Aged Care, Sussan Ley, says “older Australians have a right to receive quality services and be treated with respect, whether they are in an aged care facility or their own home”.
“This change will strengthen the aged care complaints process, and is now completely separated from the regulation and funding of aged care.”
An independent complaints system was recommended by both the 2009 Walton Review and the Productivity Commission’s 2011 report, Caring for Older Australians.
Ms Lamb said “the elderly and their families can have confidence any complaint about aged care services funded by the Australian Government will be treated fairly”.
“It is often best to raise a complaint directly with your service provider, as this can bring quick results. But if you don’t feel comfortable with that, or are unhappy with the result, call us on the Aged Care Complaints helpline on 1800 550 552.”
Any person can make a complaint to the new Commissioner, including care recipients, family members, friends, staff, volunteers, or professionals.
Complaints may relate to any aspect of services including care, choice of activities, discrimination, catering, communication or the physical environment.
The 1800 550 552 helpline is staffed 9am to 5pm (AEDST) Monday to Friday.
Out of hours callers can leave a message, or contact the Commissioner at anytime through the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner website.
In 2014-15, there were 10,924 contacts to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme.
3,725 were assessed as a complaint, 3,812 ‘other’ contacts includes non-compulsory notifications, own motion investigations and compliance referrals. There were also 3,387 out of scope contacts which were not related to an approved provider or an approved provider’s responsibilities under the Aged Care Act.
Media contact: (Assistant Minister Wyatt) Chloe Lawler 0447 680 444 (Aged Care Complaints Commissioner) 03 9921 3911