The Independent Capability Review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission released

Published 31 July 2023, revised 24 August 2023

The Independent Capability Review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has been released.

Findings and recommendations include the need for more consistent and effective approaches to quality assessment, serious incident responses and complaints, and a pilot clinical advice ‘hub and spokes’ model where some clinicians are embedded in regulatory areas to bolster clinical expertise and advice.

Of most direct relevance to allied health is the Review’s report of concerns that allied health needs are not being explicitly assessed as part of the Quality Standards. This means that providers can be found to have met the Standards despite consumers being left with unmet needs – which also runs counter to Royal Commission recommendations.

AHPA has produced extensive work on the failure of Australia’s aged care system to ensure high quality allied health to all who need it .

For example, the average number of minutes of allied health service provision in residential aged care is at its lowest in years, but the problem keeps getting ‘handballed’ between the Department and the Commission. It’s therefore pleasing to see Review recommendations that the Commission work with the Department to ensure priorities are better articulated and understood, and respective roles clarified.

But it’s also disappointing that the Review considers that failures of accountability for allied health care provision can be addressed through the new assessment methodology for strengthened Standards – because the Pilot for this has not had any allied health input, despite our request.

The Review also looks to the design of a new regulatory system for aged care and recommends that the Commission update its Regulatory Strategy in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

AHPA has some significant concerns with the proposed new system, but we hope that the Commission will embark on a more collaborative role with the allied health sector in redesigning its own Strategy, so that we can work together to ensure high quality allied health care for all older people who need it.