When is enough, enough?

Over the last four years, more than half of Bupa’s aged care homes around the country have failed to meet the basic standards of care for elderly Australians.

With more than 70 homes and almost 6,500 residents in Australia, it’s unbelievable to think that a provider that cares for such a large percentage of this country’s aged care residents could have a reputation that is synonymous with poor care

Another three Bupa homes in NSW have recently failed quality audits, including Bupa Tamworth which did so poorly that it managed to fail all eight of the new aged care quality standards.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission registered a “serious risk decision” against Bupa Tamworth. The commission found that residents were not being treated with respect and are too often being restrained.

The two other homes that recently failed quality audits are Bupa’s Banora Point and Tumut facilities.

Bupa’s facility at Banora Point failed to meet standards involving risk management – including responding to the abuse and neglect of residents, while Bupa’s Tumut facility was found to have failed in its duty to provide suitable meals and minimise the risk of infection.

Bupa’s track record in the Australian aged care sector is nothing short of appalling at this point, and the sheer volume of repeated failures without any significant consequence has raised concerns that Bupa is receiving preferential treatment from the federal government.

Over the years, a number of smaller providers have been forced to shut down operations due to consistently failing to meet standards, including ARK Health Care who were forced to sell in 2018 after failing to meet standards in their NSW-based homes.

Yet somehow, Bupa who had 45 of their 72 nursing homes fail to meet standards last year have managed to retain their accreditation status.

If this wasn’t bad enough, last year the government actually awarded BUPA with an extremely lucrative Defense Force contract, that will see them delivering health services to over 80,000 ADF members and reservists.

In September of last year, Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck described Bupa’s “persistent failure” to meet standards as “simply unacceptable,” declaring that he and the Department of Health were “closely monitoring” Bupa’s performance.

Bupa’s CEO, Hisham El-Ansary, apologised for the provider’s failings in an interview on the ABC last year, stating that Bupa “were capable of much better” and working hard to restore confidence in their services.

Yet despite this talk from the Aged Care Minister and Bupa’s CEO, the four months following those statements have yielded even more Bupa failings.

There have been so many negative stories involving Bupa Aged Care over the last 12 months that information regarding fresh scandals or care-failings barely raises an eyebrow from the general public anymore.

As sexual assaults, violence, residents with maggots in their wounds, scabies, and staff using a resident’s credit card, are only a sample of the atrocities that Bupa residents have been subjected to.

These stories also have a negative effect on the majority of hardworking aged care staff who find themselves facing backlash for the failings of a greedy corporate entity and a government that refuses to protect its elderly people.

Photo courtesy of iStock: credit – urbazon

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