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Catholic Health urges independent enquiry into nursing home accreditation

Catholic Health Australia (CHA), the peak body representing Catholic health and aged care services, yesterday called on the Federal Government to immediately instigate an fully independent inquiry into the process of accreditation of Australia's aged care homes.

The call followed revelations of irregularities in the existing accreditation procedure in Federal Parliament on Wednesday. Labor attacks on Aged Care Minister Mrs Bronwyn Bishop's handling of her portfolio then dominated yesterday's question time in Parliament.

CHA's Executive Director, Francis Sullivan said yesterday, "Good providers had complied with the system, and all its idiosyncrasies, yet are still being dragged down by apparent aberrations in the process.

"The Government has a responsibility to have the accreditation process independently assessed for its effectiveness, transparency and capacity to restore community confidence in the aged care system.

"The industry supported the concept of accreditation because it supports quality care. Even though funding is being squeezed and standards are becoming harder to maintain, a rigorous accreditation process is essential to give security to residents and confidence to the community.

"We are very concerned that the image of decent hard working providers is being undermined by the perception that the accreditation process has not been water tight."

Bishop responded angrily to the statement, suggesting its call for an enquiry was motivated by Mr Sullivan's former links with the Labor Party.

"Francis Sullivan was of course an advisor to the Labor Party Health Minister under none other than Premier Carmen Lawrence," she said. "I just noticed in his statement that Catholic Health Care offers to take over the accreditation function."

Catholic Health Australia/ABC