Aged Care

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety gets Underway

February 7, 2019
Hearings commence 11 February 2019


Anthony Black, Senior Risk Consultant, Ansvar Risk returned from a preliminary hearing in Adelaide to give Ansvar clients this exclusive preview:

1) More than 5,000 submissions will form part of the evidence
2) Last count, 84 Aged Care providers had submitted responses
3) Commissioner Lynelle Briggs noted: “It is our hope providers will assist whenever called for information and contributions. No response brings attention to providers and their practices”
4) Employers are warned that they should not prevent employees participating in anyway with the Royal Commission. Deterrence many lead to an offence

Commissioners regard the Royal Commission as a “Once in a lifetime opportunity to come together as a Nation to review how we care for older people”.

The Royal Commissioners: Richard Tracey QC and Lynelle Briggs AO
Report Timeframes Confirmed: 31/10/19 (interim) 30/04/20 (final)

“A rising torrent of concerns”
While thousands contribute to excellent care every day, the Commissioners noted rising concerns regarding failings of care and a system that is no longer fit for purpose. It is the Commissioners’ intentions to “give voice to those who have experiences to share”.

The Royal Commission will use its powers to examine the progress and effectiveness of the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission throughout its first year in operation.

First Hearings
The first public hearing will commence week February 11, in Adelaide.
The Royal Commission has determined hearings will have the following themes:

1) Overview of the System (including young people in residential care, access and inclusion and dementia care)
2) Person Centred Care (complex care, mental health, nutrition, choice, end of life care, family inclusion)
3) Loneliness and Respect
4) Quality and Safety systems and Regulatory Framework
5) Access and Navigation (including accommodation bonds, transitions between care types, service interfaces, home care)
6) Remote and Regional Care (demographics, workforce, sustainability)

All public documents, practice guidelines for hearings and other information is available on the Royal Commission website:

Providers can be called to give evidence
Providers may be called before the Royal Commission to provide evidence at the direction of the Commissioners or by Special Counsel Assisting. For the first time in a Royal Commission in Australia, the Commissioners also have power to obtain statements in writing. Particular themes will guide hearings. Public Hearings will take place in each State as well as some regional centres.

The Royal Commission will also hold roundtables, conduct surveys, visit services, meet with advocates and consumers, meet key Departments and conduct Community Consultations.

More than 5,000 Submissions 
The Royal Commission has received more than 5000 submissions from the public regarding experiences relating to the aged care sector. Since then, the Royal Commission invited Aged Care Providers to submit information based on 8 questions by January 7 (top 100 providers) and by February 8 (remaining providers). To date, 84 providers have submitted responses.

What has been learnt from submissions?
Aged Care Providers have submitted the following as key themes of “substandard care”:

1) Elder Abuse
2) Medication management
3) Psychotropic drug use
4) Food safety
5) Not responding to residents calls for care in reasonable time frames
6) Inadequate wound management, leading to death
7) Record keeping and management

Public submissions reveal two major themes:

– Unsafe care practices
– Inadequate staffing numbers and inadequately qualified staff

Commissioner Briggs advised that information provided by Providers will not be individually identified in public; however aggregated data will be produced. Further, the information provided by Providers will be compared to that held by the Regulator for comparison and further inquiry.

Administration and work of the Royal Commission is already in train

– Adelaide based and all Senior Counsels Assisting appointed
– Policy and research framework established to guide recommendations
– Commissioners have made clear that “short response times” will be the norm of the proceedings of the Royal Commission
– Engagement has already commenced with advocacy groups, policy advisors, Australian Bureau of Statistics and research groups


Ansvar can offer support to your organisation:
The Ansvar Risk team are experts – we understand the sector, and we have a range of resources and tools to assist you in preparing for the Royal Commission.

Please contact us to discuss reviewing and strengthening your risk management
Anthony Black
0402 239 149




Disclaimer: Ansvar Insurance Limited ABN 21 007 216 506, AFSL 237806. This information is general advice only and does not take into account your individual circumstances.  Before making any decisions, please consider the appropriateness of this advice to your own objectives, financial situation or other needs.

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