ON 1 July this year, the Australian Government’s new aged care standards kicked in. These new standards were possibly even fluffier and open to interpretation than the ones they replaced. In evidence at the Aged Care Royal Commission, CPSA described the new standards as “a sad piece of window dressing”.
It appears GPs working in aged care agree with that verdict. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed its own aged care standards. With superb understatement the RACGP is reported to believe ‘the new [RACGP] standards address an area of aged care that is currently underserved”.
Just the one area?
Dr Louise Acland, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC–SGP), is reported to have said: “It’s a very complex sector and there’s a need for more support so that our older Australians living in residential aged care facilities can access general practice care in a timely, appropriate and safe manner.”
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon has said GPs do not receive enough support when treating patients in nursing homes. The new RACGP standards are designed to generate change, including improvements to systems and equipment that in many cases do not support the safe and effective delivery of care.
Things have come to a pretty pass if GPs have to develop their own aged care standards for nursing homes, because the Australian Government’s standards are not up to the job.