Brett Fraser, National Enterprise Manager at CVCheck, has been involved in aged care and health care compliance for 25 years due to significant gaps he sees in the industry.
He has worked with most large aged care providers and hospitals across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and co-authored a whitepaper on the overall strategy of aged care within Australia.
In November, Brett joined JobAdder’s Business Engagement Manager, Paul Molony on a webinar to discuss the recent Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care. Their discussion centred on the findings of the report, and the actions providers must take to ensure they are prepared for any further changes.
What does the report mean to Aged Care
“There’s no need to worry, but there’s certainly a need for further planning”, Brett remarked upon opening the conversation when asked about the nature of the report.
He said, the report is “a warning to say, listen, these are the findings to date, and these are the things that you need to take heat off.”
He reinforced that the most critical actions which need to be taken are careful consideration of the findings and proactive planning for the aftermath.
How to stay abreast of the Royal Commission’s findings
Brett spoke about how anyone in the industry can stay up-to-date with the latest news and updates in regards to the Royal Commission’s investigations into aged care.
He suggested that the Risk and Compliance teams of larger organisations, and the HR teams of smaller organisations, will most likely be aware of any news, while individuals can sign up to Google alerts to ensure they stay ahead of the game.
What are the key findings of the Interim Report
The key takeaway for providers, Brett says, is to find and develop good quality staff to help the improvement of the industry.
Talking about the challenges in aged care, Brett mentioned recruiting and retaining good quality staff.
Part of the reason behind the retention challenges are the low wages, with Brett commenting that aged care is one of the lowest paid industries.
The other issue is that service conditions are very different in regional areas when compared to metropolitan area, so it’s tough to find staff to operate regional facilities.
Brett welcomed the government’s new skilled visa program which would support immigrants who would commit to working in regional Australia.
Recognising that a large proportion of the aged care and health care industry is made up of migrant workers, amendments to visa conditions are important moves for the future perspective of the industry.
He says, it’s also a responsibility to ensure, the potential skills gap of migrant workers coming into the country needs to be closed to comply with Australian laws.
What can providers expect to happen in the future
Brett highlighted that the improvement of the sector needs to be a continuous activity.
Referring to the Royal Commission’s final findings and report due in November 2020, he expects that it will be followed up with the legislation of the requirements by government, to bring more certainty into the industry.
“There’s going to be some regulation within the industry which is what we haven’t had, there’s going to be universal standards in terms of what we all need to comply to, and that already started to be researched and put into practice now”, he adds.
Brett warns if you’re not proactive and prepared now, the effect of any future legislation on your organisation can be very abrupt and aggressive.
The Royal Commission is already on the hunt for large players in the industry and there’s a lot of press around this at the moment, with suppliers like Bupa being caught out.
What to do now
Brett suggests having a robust framework around training and developing staff, attracting overseas talent, and inducting foreign workers are a priority.
Having support facilities in the regional area, which is a “big play”, is also essential, he adds.