Independence and advocacy: the key to gaining consumer trust in Australias aged care complaints system Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC confines its comments specifically to the matters raised in Chapter 12 (‘Regulation the future direction’) of the Draft Productivity Commission Report, Caring for Older Australians. More specifically the submission responds to the parts of that chapter referring to complaints handling and appeals and access to independent consumer advocacy services.
PIAC’s first concern is that to a fair degree, the aged care complaints system in Australia has lost the trust of Australian consumers. PIAC strongly urges that the Productivity Commission recommend to the Federal Government a model for health care complaints that is independent and therefore able to create a system that is trusted by both consumers and providers. Independence of complaints bodies in both the health and aged care is essential to maintain the rights of consumers for several reasons.
Whilst supporting the use of alternative dispute resolution strategies as part of the management of aged care complaints, PIAC emphasises the need for an independent advocacy service to assist consumers and their carers with complaints, with the New Zealand Advocacy Service as a model. Any future aged care complaints scheme should include legislative protection against intimidation of complainants and protection of whistleblowers, plus enhanced rights of review from decisions about aged care complaints.