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Aged care royal commission sees government leaders criticised for lack of leadership

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The aged care royal commission has called on the federal government to immediately fund additional staff in aged care facilities, and has criticised the government’s lack of a dedicated plan or clear leadership which left families and facilities wondering who was in charge.

On Thursday, the commission made six recommendations, including the establishment of an aged care advisory body and a COVID-19 plan for the sector which would include protocols between state and federal governments to remove confusion.

One recommendation requires establishing a national aged-care plan for COVID-19, including setting up a national aged-care advisory body. A key step that was missing in the Victorian aged care catastrophe.

The commissioners said much was “made during the hearing of whether there was an aged care-specific plan for COVID-19”.

Photo: Daniel Pockett/AAP

They conclude: “There was not a COVID-19 plan devoted solely to aged care. But there was a national COVID-19 plan that the Australian Government sought to adapt and apply to the aged care sector.”

The commission indicates the plan should establish protocols between the federal government and states and territories, which may reduce some confusion around who is responsible for what. The plan should also set up procedures regarding who decides whether residents with COVID-19 are transferred to hospital.

As part of the plan, significant outbreaks in facilities are to be investigated by an independent expert, and any lessons promptly disseminated to the sector.

The government and the sector have come under fire for their response to the pandemic, which has seen more than 650 deaths, most during Victoria’s second wave.

In homes that have been struck by the virus, in particular, there have been shocking allegations of neglect, and some facilities in Victoria are now facing legal action.

In addition to a published Covid plan, the commission also recommended the creation of a national aged care advisory body and said major outbreaks should also be investigated independently.

It also called for the government to “immediately fund providers that apply for funding to ensure there are adequate staff available to allow continued visits” to residents.

Sourced By: Sydney Morning Herald

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