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Spot checks at WA nursing homes to soar

WA nursing homes will be subject to five times as many surprise checks under the Federal Government’s planned crackdown on abuse and poor care.

Government inspectors will swoop on at least one-third of the State’s 240 aged-care homes next year, up from just 16 since unannounced audits began across the country on July 1.

Nationally, the spot checks will jump from 263 to almost 900. Putting dodgy providers on not-ice, Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt will today reveal respected health bureaucrat Janet Anderson has been appointed to increase compliance as the head of the new aged-care watchdog.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which starts on January 1, will have a four-year budget of almost $300 million and employ dozens more senior compliance officers.

Mr Wyatt said it would usher in a “new era” in certainty, accountability and confidence, alongside a royal commission into the sector.

“Senior Australians and their families will know who to contact when they need help with a complaint, a concern or when something goes wrong,” he said.

“They will know that the aged-care system is safe and will support their choices, rather than make choices for them.”

On top of accreditation audits, there will be thousands of unannounced inspections nationally to ensure compliance with standards and address risk factors and complaints.

To keep receiving Federal Government funding, aged-care homes must comply with 44 standards every three years.

They include adequate provision of qualified staff, clinical care, nutrition, hygiene, dignity, privacy and security.

New figures from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency show, as of yesterday, nine WA aged-care homes were on timetables for improvement after they failed to meet one or more of the quality standards.

Just one home, the Fremantle Italian Aged Persons Service Association, was sanctioned last year.

The City of Bayswater Hostel and an Amana Living facility were issued less serious notices of non-compliance.

Facilities that are sanctioned and fail to improve face losing Commonwealth funding for their aged-care places.

The surprise audits, which replace the previous system of notification of inspections, will increase as the aged-care royal commission works to expose the extent of substandard care and investigate challenges and opportunities as the population ages.

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