Scott Morrison – time for Morrison to put his money where his mouth is
The time for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to express sympathy and outrage at the plight of aged Australians has passed and he must now convert his many words on the subject into action.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, led by Lynelle Briggs and Tony Pagone QC, on Monday handed down its report urging fundamental reform to reduce the suffering caused by substandard and cruel care by residential aged care and home care services.
As the evidence before the commission over the past two years has brought out in harrowing detail, the incidence of assaults may be as high as 13 to 18 per cent in residential aged care facilities. The overuse of physical and chemical restraints on patients is in part put down to the shortage of trained staff.
Such problems have long been known, but the deaths of at least 685 people in aged care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted them to the wider public. Many homes failed to implement basic practices in relation to infection control.
The report makes clear that successive governments have turned a blind eye to falling standards because the cost of fixing the system was too great. “The move to ritualistic regulation was a natural consequence of the government’s desire to restrain expenditure in aged care,” the report stated.