Bupa nursing home in South Hobart stripped of federal funds over failure to meet regulator standards
Bupa provides aged care to “more than 6,700 residents” across Australia, the company website states. (ABC News: Jack Tegg)
An aged care home in Hobart, managed by health care giant Bupa, cannot take any new residents after failing to meet accreditation standards.
Inspectors from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency identified problems at the Bupa South Hobart facility during a visit last month.
The Department of Health confirmed sanctions had been imposed on the nursing home and it has written to residents and their relatives.
“The sanctions mean that … Bupa South Hobart will not receive payment from the Australian Government for new residents until 25 April 2019,” National Aged Care Compliance Centre acting director Zamir Yusuf wrote in the letter.
“Limiting the number of residents who can be accepted into the service helps the service to focus on fixing the problems for current residents.”
The facility “must provide training to educate all staff and address the gaps in learning identified by the Quality Agency,” Mr Yusuf said.
The sanctions also mean an adviser must be appointed to ensure clinical responsibilities, which could include personal care or pain management, are met.
Neither Bupa nor the Department of Health provided specific details of instances in which standards were not met.
The facility’s management said it was “committed to making significant improvements”. (Pixabay: sabinevanerp)
Elderly deserve ‘dignity and respect’
Council on the Ageing Tasmania chief executive Sue Leitch said her organisation was “aware of a number of families that have had some concerns and we’ve been giving them some advice on how to follow through”.
“We don’t know of any specific instances as such, other than families coming to us that have had concerns and we’ve been supporting them,” she said.
Ms Leitch said the community expected the level of care for the “older members of our family should be at the highest level, with dignity and respect”.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Tasmanian Branch secretary Emily Shepherd said the case highlighted the “broader issue in our aged care sector”.
“Staffing levels are having a direct impact on the quality care that residents receive,” she said.
Bupa to begin ‘regaining trust’
In a statement, Bupa Villages and Aged Care managing director Jan Adams apologised to the facility’s residents and their families.
“We accept that there have been shortcomings at the care home,” she said.
“This does not represent the high standards of aged care that Bupa stands for and that our residents deserve.”
She said Bupa was “committed to making significant improvements at the home and regaining the trust of our residents and their families”.
Bupa, which began in the United Kingdom in 1947 as the British United Provident Association, promotes itself as the “the largest privately owned health insurance provider in Australia, supporting more than 4 million customers in their health and wellbeing”.
A Department of Health spokesperson said it was the “responsibility of all providers to meet required standards” and when they failed, there was “a regulatory framework in place to bring them back into compliance as quickly as possible”.