Australia’s population is aging as we are living longer than ever before. The
percentage of people aged 65 years and over in the total population was 15% in
2017, but is expected to increase between 21% and 23% by 2066. A growing
number will mean a greater demand for aged care and added pressures on the aged
care sector.

As of 2018, around 282,000 people receive aged care services. Over the years the
aged care system has faced various issues related to quality of care, raising concern
for the wellbeing of the elderly and the need to re-evaluate the system, especially
with a substantial number of clients.

In 2011, the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report stated:
“The aged care system suffers key weaknesses. It is difficult to navigate.
Services are limited, as is consumer choice. Quality is variable.”

A key element for effective re-evaluation of the system is proposing one agency to
take responsibility of the prominent departments, and avoid miscommunication.
Thus, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) was established to
handle care quality, complaints and consumer tasks as an independent body from 1
January 2019. In this regard, the ACQSC will work towards regulating quality, with
an emphasis on enhancing care quality by implementing a set of quality standards
for all aged care services from 1 July 2019.

A comparison to England’s aged care sector, conducted by The Conversation, has
exhibited valuable lessons that Australia can learn from; predominantly their rating
system. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England is responsible for
monitoring, inspecting and regulating health care services. Their results are then
given a rating according to the five questions: are they safe, are they effective, are
they caring, are they responsive and are they well-led? Following this, there are four
ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate, where the final rating

is displayed, whether it’s satisfactory or poor. This system has been successful in not
only allowing people to find good, trustworthy care services but also given service
providers a standard to aim for.

Sir David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission from 2012 to July
2018 said:
“We rate services and this has a real currency. Hospitals, general practices,
care homes want an outstanding rating because they want that badge that
says they provide the really great care in England.”

However, it can be argued that the rating system has its faults that can clash with
Australian policies. The CQC regularly draws attention to poor care through ratings and
health care reports, which is impossible in Australia under the Aged Care Act 1997
which restricts publications on poor care. Nevertheless, the rating system can still
successfully highlight the satisfactory services that people look for.

Some also debate that people looking for care are usually in a crisis and rushed to make
a decision, thus not considering the ratings and instead seek the closest and most
convenient service. However, this system manages to separate the services into
categories and can be recognized as a significant measure for people who take the time
to consider their options.

Overall, England’s rating system can be acknowledged as a useful tool that Australia
can adopt to identify and improve care quality. On a smaller scale, My Care My Choice
utilizes a star rating system according to five categories and ‘quality of care’ is one of
them. We recognize the importance of efficient and trustworthy aged care services for
communities in Western Australia and venture to remain transparent with people, by
providing non-biased information and reviews.

Connecting you with the right aged care provider is our mission because your happiness
and satisfaction is our priority.


Aged care regulation: lessons from England