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Wednesday, 8 March 2000
Page: 14159

Dr WASHER (2:25 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Aged Care. Minister, would you inform the House how the government's new accreditation system has helped to raise standards in the nu rsing home industry?

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Minister for Aged Care) —I thank the honourable member for his question, because he is concerned about good care being given instead of political point-scoring. If I may make it very plain, the accreditation system is designed to have a comprehensive and targeted system of visits. Since its inception 18 months ago it has conducted 1,250 visits, which have included 827 support visits. There have been close to 400 accreditation site visits, and there have been 1,500 residential classification scale visits which have reviewed 14,000 care plans. There have been six spot visits by the agency, which has to determine when it is necessary to use that tool.

The accreditation system is designed to bring poor standard homes up to standard and to let them give good care, and it has been very successful. In Victoria alone, we have seen 35 homes which could not reach certification standards—that is the buildings. I would remind the opposition that they commissioned the Gregory report and then did nothing about it. It was we who followed the Gregory report and put in place the accommodation charge, which will give $1.4 billion over 10 years for upgrading of buildings. There is something like $800 million worth of work already under way, but there were 35 homes in Victoria alone which simply were not going to get up to standard. They have gone out of business and that means we are seeing new players come in to give good care.