ACCC takes BUPA to court

Article published 28 May 2019

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THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking Bupa Aged Care Australia Pty Ltd to court about a breach of Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC has said that Bupa charged thousands of residents for extra services that it did not provide.

The extra services that Bupa charged for but did not provide include air-conditioning in bedrooms, ‘smart room’ systems to assist those living with dementia and outdoor exercise rooms, only to name a few.

Another large aged care provider, Allity, runs 45 homes across Australia. Since 2017, almost a quarter of those facilities have been issued a notice of non-compliance. Clearly, Allity is not all that good at meeting the standards of residential care. You would expect them to be focussing their energies and resources on providing quality care, but do they? Nope. Instead Allity has advertised a partnership with designer Julie Ockerby who boasts of “aesthetics from a European café”.

Why is quality of care not the priority for these providers? Staff are run off their feet whilst big providers like Allity brag about new “upholstered bedheads and custom soft furnishings”.

The underwhelming power of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is clear as providers continue business as usual in the face of non-compliance issues.  Bupa Australia has had 28 of their 70 aged care facilities recently face compliance action. The Commission does not have the power to go after Bupa or Allity as a whole, but instead has to take action against individual aged care facilities. The Aged Care Act does not make Bupa Australia and Allity Corporate responsible for the quality of care at their facilities. Instead, the responsibility rests with each separate facility.

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