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Promised Aged Care Commissioner Now Urgent; Grey Power

Grey Power Federation President Mac Welch has called on the Government to urgently honour a pre-election promise and appoint an Aged Care Commissioner.

Welch said the need for someone with sufficient legal authority to require rest homes and others in the aged care industry to maintain adequate standards of security was highlighted by a recent tragic caser of elder abuse in a rest home.

A former Associate Professor of Journalism at Massey University was convicted of indecently assaulting an elderly woman in her own room at a home. The defendant was sentenced to eight months of home detention but Welch said the sentence was shockingly inadequate. It should have been at the very least a custodial sentence and it is hoped the Solicitor General’s Office will appeal this sentence.

He said elderly woman should have been safe and secure in the home and it was disturbing that staff knew something was wrong but failed to act quickly enough to prevent the assault.

“The majority of rest homes provide very good service and it is only in a small minority where elderly vulnerable people are at risk of abuse or neglect. There has been a few cases of neglect and abuse but this was one of the worst and we urgently need someone with an over view of the industry and the authority to require best practice performance. We were promised this by the Labour Party before the General Election but it has yet to happen.”

The matter will be discussed at the Federation’s Annual General meeting in May and Welch said he expected delegates to be as angry and disappointed as he was with the tragedy.

“We don’t like disputes with Government. We much prefer to work with them to achieve common goals but the safety and security of vulnerable elderly people takes priority over all other considerations,” he said.


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