Courier Mail recently reported that over half of aged care assessors have ties to the nursing home industry. These conflict of interest allegations are yet to be denied.
In Senate Estimates on 28 February, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency was asked to clarify a report in the Courier Mail from 21 February, which reported that 56 of 110 assessors (who carry out nursing home audits) either worked in, or consulted to the nursing home industry.
The Courier-Mail had done its own investigation and asked the Minister for Aged Care to comment.
“I’m seeking clarification from the Quality Agency.” That was the Minister’s response to the Courier Mail.
A week later, in Senate Estimates, the head of Quality Agency was asked about the 56. His response? He would take the question on notice.
So, both the Minister for Aged Care and the Head of the Quality Agency’s response was: I’ll get back to you.
The Head of the Quality Agency did, however, provide the following information:
There are 311 registered assessors.
170 of those are employees of the Quality Agency.
141 are external assessors of whom 111 are contracted as assessors, the remainder being casuals. But we still don’t know how many of those assessors also work in the nursing home industry.
The issue is how tough external assessors who are in senior positions in the nursing home industry can be on their colleagues in the nursing home industry.
For many years now, well over 90 per cent of nursing homes have achieved full compliance.