Bupa Eden’s 11th hour escape

Article published 23 August 2019

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ON the afternoon of Friday 16 August 2019, the Bupa Eden nursing home regained its accreditation, just hours before it would have expired at midnight that day.

Bupa’s Eden nursing home failed 8 out of 44 standards in August 2018. This failure rate had increased dramatically six months later to 22 failures out of 44, and just two months after that the rate had increased yet again to 30 failures out of 44 standards, which prompted its loss of accreditation.

Curiously, neither Bupa Australia or the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission have made a general public announcement about the re-accreditation of the Bupa Eden nursing home. No detail or report had been published at the time of writing.

Of Bupa’s 72 nursing homes Australia-wide, 11 are currently subject to compliance action, and 5 of those 11 are repeat offenders. In total, out of Bupa’s 72 nursing homes Australia-wide, 34 (47 per cent) have recently been or are currently in trouble with the regulator. Bupa Eden itself continues to be under sanction until the end of the year in spite of its re-accreditation.

In light of those statistics, the 11th-hour escape and re-accreditation of one of the worst offending Bupa nursing homes should be distrusted.

For that reason, CPSA calls for an independent audit of the re-accreditation of the Bupa Eden nursing home.

Here’s a likely scenario of how Bupa Eden miraculously escaped loss of accreditation.

Had Bupa Eden lost accreditation, it would have continued to operate the home without accreditation. It could legally have done so, but it would have meant the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission could only have investigated complaints.

However, if any complaints would then have been substantiated, the Commission has no powers to do anything to fix them or discipline Bupa Eden.

The only weapon left in the Commission’s armoury would have been to strip Bupa Australia of its accreditation as an approved provider of aged care. But Bupa Australia, which owns and operates 72 nursing homes in Australia, is too big to be closed down. So, effectively, the Commission would have been powerless to do anything to protect the residents of Bupa Eden.

Throughout this saga, both the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and Bupa have refused to engage in public debate.

Essentially, Bupa has played hard-ball with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which has been comprehensively bluffed and played for the ineffective regulator it plainly is. Its powers are inadequate and Bupa and like-minded outfits may well play this game of chicken with the Commission from now on and win each time.

Obviously, aged care residents don’t get a look-in as per usual.

For more information please email our media contact at media@cpsa.org.au

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