16 October 2019

Aged care needs a Rosie Batty

In July, Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission concluded that quality care is not being delivered at a systemic level in Australia’s aged care system. The following month Counsel Assisting concluded that the voices of providers are predominant and appear to be highly influential with Ministers and regulators. The consumer voice is relatively weak.

On 7 October, the ABC’s Q & A program on aged care contained lacklustre performances except for one shining light, consumer advocate Sarah Holland-Batt. At the Brisbane hearing of the Royal Commission in August, Sarah had provided compelling evidence of her father’s appalling treatment in a Brisbane nursing home. On Q & A she alone got to the heart of the matter, that health care is the core issue and it needs to equate with the care available in hospital medical wards, doctors surgeries and physiotherapists’ rooms. Sarah also nailed the scandal of the ‘early resolution’ option in the insipid complaints scheme and the lack of transparency in the use of public funds. Aged care desperately needs a Rosie Batty. A grass roots voice speaking from direct experience. Sarah Holland-Batt could be that person. Let us hope she has the time and the inclination.