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Increase in complaints to aged care Commissioner

An increasing number of older Australians and their families are using the independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner to resolve issues with aged care providers, with most complaints turned around within one month.

The Commissioner’s 2016-17 report shows the overall number of people who raised a complaint with the Commissioner rose 20 per cent over the previous year.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said that in a perfect world there would be no need for the service but he welcomed the news that more people were receiving assistance.

“We are committed to accountability because every older Australian who needs aged care support deserves a quality service that is safe and meets their individual requirements,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Commissioner provides free and independent advice and investigations and will hear concerns about the quality of any aged care service subsidised by the Australian Government.

“If you have a problem and talking to the aged care service hasn’t resolved the issue, the Complaints Commissioner is there to make sure your concerns are dealt with fairly and in a timely fashion.”

The Commissioner will hear complaints about:

  • residential care or residential respite care
  • Home Care Packages
  • the Commonwealth Home Support Programme
  • flexible care, including transition care, and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Programme

The 2016-17 annual report from independent Commissioner, Rae Lamb covers the first full year since she was appointed by the Turnbull Government in January 2016.

The report shows that the Commissioner resolved the majority of complaints quickly and effectively, with three out of four finalised within 30 days.

“Consumers and advocates can have confidence in the impartiality and independence of the Commissioner,” Minister Wyatt said.

“While the majority of aged care services provide a high standard of care, it is particularly important that problems experienced by people receiving care, who are often frail and vulnerable, are resolved quickly and fairly.”

Mr Wyatt said the Complaints Commissioner was an important part of the Government’s checks and controls to ensure consistent quality and safety in aged care across Australia whilst ensuring older Australian’s understood they had someone at the end of a phone line they could talk to during a difficult time.

The work of the Commissioner as well as aged care accreditation, monitoring, review, and investigation is being considered by the independent Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes, due to report to the Minister on
29 September 2017.

The annual report of the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner report is available online on the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner website.

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