The Chair of the Royal Commission into the Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Honourable Gaetano Pagone QC, has today issued the following statement:
Public concern has been expressed about statements made by the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians that we had decided to support the privatisation of the Aged Care Assessment Teams in our Interim Report. I take this opportunity to make clear that the Interim Report did not endorse the Government’s stated position but noted that we would monitor with interest the implementation which the Government had announced. The Interim Report stated at p137 as follows:
Mr Tune’s Report raised concerns about the timeliness, quality and consistency of the assessment process under My Aged Care. He recommended a more rigorous and integrated assessment model, with the first step being the amalgamation of Regional Assessment Services with Aged Care Assessment Teams, and later incorporation of the residential care assessment function which sets personal funding levels, and is currently undertaken by providers. The Government has announced that it will implement this recommendation and will integrate the two assessment workforces from 2020. The Royal Commission considers that this integration needs to be progressed urgently. We will, therefore, maintain a continued interest in these developments and will monitor their progress; we will make recommendations as necessary in the Final Report.
It is desirable in view of the public concerns and statements which have been expressed that it is made clear that the work of Royal Commissioners is intended to be, and is, independent of Government. Our tasks as Commissioners are detailed in the terms of reference and we have not yet made recommendations about which sector or mechanism will best achieve an integration of Regional Assessment Services and the Aged Care Assessment Teams.
14 January 2020.