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Monday, 4 June 2001
Page: 27139


Ms MACKLIN (2:57 PM) —Have a look in the portfolio budget statement—


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Jagajaga will come to her question or resume her seat.


Ms MACKLIN —My question is to the Minister for Aged Care. Minister, why did you overturn the recommendation of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency's assessment team to revoke the accreditation of the Yagoona nursing home in Sydney? Doesn't the agency's report find the nursing homes failed all four care standards, with two standards rated critical? Haven't you breached your own accreditation guidelines, which say that nursing homes must lose accreditation if they have a critical rating on one or more standards? Didn't your standards agency find that residents suffered temperatures of 48 degrees in summer, cold showers in winter, inadequate clinical care and high rates of falls and that they risk potential disaster in the event of a fire? Why didn't you enforce proper standards of care in the Yagoona nursing home?


Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Minister for Aged Care) —I thank the member for Jagajaga for her question, because it does give me the opportunity to explain to her how the independent system of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency works. If she likes, I could perhaps give her a briefing, or arrange for the department to do so, so she understands. Basically, the home concerned was in fact accredited as part of the support visits which continue to take place after accreditation—so that you may not reach accreditation standard and think you will not be visited again for another three years. The fact of the matter is there is a continuing number of support visits and spot checks, both of which occurred in this home. The agency then conducted as a result of that support visit a review audit. The review audit found that there were unsatisfactory ratings on a number of the standards. It has required that that home be brought up to acceptable standard. All of the residents and their families have been written to, and indeed the department is now considering what sanctions will be applied to that home. But the important thing is that it continues to be monitored by both the department and the agency.

Whether or not accreditation is downgraded has nothing to do with a ministerial judgment. It is written into the legislation that the agency must remain independent when it makes its decision. The agency takes into consideration the recommendation of the assessor's report. It also takes into account other items that it considers relevant, such as undertakings of the home to remedy the problems in that home. It makes a decision in the interests of the residents as a whole. It is very important that the agency makes that judgment. I might add that the finding was that there was no serious risk. However, both the department and the agency will continue to monitor this home. I report that there were two spot checks over the weekend.


Ms Macklin —Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table a page from the government's accreditation guidelines, which clearly indicate that a critical rating in one or more standards rules out accreditation.

Leave not granted.