The Morrison Government supports all 23 recommendations made by the report of Inquiry into Events at Earle Haven, which was produced by Ms Kate Carnell AO and released today.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck commissioned the inquiry to examine the circumstances leading up to the collapse in provision of aged care services at the facility, and the impact of the events on the safety and wellbeing of the affected residents.
The report found that effectively what led to the forced evacuation of the residents was a breakdown in the relationship between the approved provider of aged care services at Earle Haven, People Care Pty Ltd, and the company engaged to deliver these services, Help Street Villages (Qld) Pty Ltd.
The report’s recommendations have a significant focus on greater regulatory oversight of approved providers and their commercial arrangements.
The report supports the Government’s structural reform to give further regulatory power to the independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which will further strengthen the tough new cop on the beat for the aged care sector.
These powers are set to come into force on 1 January 2020, subject to the passage of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (New Commissioner Functions) Bill 2019 currently before Parliament.
The Government has also already delivered on the major recommendation regarding the obligation to report changes in key personnel.
Minister Colbeck said the events at Earle Haven were devastating, unprecedented and completely unacceptable.
“We owe it to the residents and families caught up in this tragedy to do all that we can to prevent situations like Earle Haven occurring again,” Minister Colbeck said.
“As I said at the time, this inquiry is about ensuring we understand why the situation occurred, that we do what we can to prevent this type of event in the future, and that those responsible are held to account.
“I will be pushing for swift passage of the Bill before Parliament to beef up the powers of the independent aged care regulator. I will work methodically to implement all the recommendations from the report, particularly in the context of the findings of the Royal Commission final report, as well as incorporating the interim report.
“In addition, I have already written to Chair of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council, Andrea Coote, for advice on what further powers the Commission needs and to report back before Christmas.
“I will refer this report to the Advisory Council for inclusion in that advice.
“Delivering safe, high quality care for senior Australians is a priority for the Morrison Government and the entire Australian community.”
The report makes 23 recommendations that fall into six broad categories:
- greater regulatory capacity and coordination
- greater oversight of financial and commercial arrangements
- greater oversight of the purchasing and sub-contracting of approved provider status
- better managing the risks associated with key personnel and organisational culture
- sanction options which better balance the need for decisive action with the desire of people to remain in their homes
- better planned and coordinated responses to emerging situations in aged care facilities.
“The report also acknowledges the staff of the facilities who went to great lengths to stay and care for Earle Haven residents, including working through the night with emergency responders as they were relocated. I again also acknowledge and thank them for their care for, and dedication to, the residents,” Minister Colbeck said.
The independent Aged Care Royal Commission is also examining the events at Earle Haven and may make further findings.
Since the events at Earle Haven, People Care has been subject to significant sanctions, including the revocation of all residential aged care places and home care packages.
The Government has also worked to ensure the former residents of Earle Haven have been able to transition to new residential providers of their choice following the terrible events at Earle Haven.
Read the report.