15 Oct 2010

Aged Care Commissioner urged

8:36 am on 15 October 2010

Opposition parties want the Government to appoint an Aged Care Commissioner to address what they say are serious problems in the sector.

The recommendation is contained in a report by the Labour and the Green parties, in conjunction with Grey Power.

The report, which will be issued on Friday, gives a bleak picture of an age care sector crippled by chronic neglect, abuse, staffing shortages and an ineffective auditing process.

It makes 14 recommendations including mandatory staffing ratios, minimum training levels and the appointment of an Aged Care Commissioner.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Government is already dealing with issues raised in the report.

He told Morning Report he did not think a commissioner is necessary and said the previous Labour Government also twice rejected the idea.

He also said efforts to improve standards included $88 million in subsidies, including improvements to nursing quality and supervision.

Other comment

The Aged Care Association describes the report as unbalanced and grossly inaccurate.

Chief executive Martin Taylor says an extensive review commissioned by district health boards that was issued last month, found the sector provides a high quality service.

Mr Taylor says the latest report did not verify people's claims and only sought out negative stories.