The Department of Health has placed sanctions on Bupa Griffith, bringing to eight the number of aged care facilities owned by the multinational health company that are now restricted in this way.

The sanctions mean the aged care facility in regional New South Wales will not receive subsidies for new residents for six months, and must hire an adviser at its own expense to address the identified shortcomings. Training must also be provided for staff.

The Department of Health deemed the facility to pose “an immediate and severe risk” to residents after identifying extensive failings, including in clinical care, medication management, pain management, continence management, behavioural management, infection control, and staff development.

Carolyn Cooper, Interim Chief Operating Officer of Bupa Australia Aged Care, issued a statement to HelloCare, saying the company was sorry for the failures at its Griffith facility.

“We apologise to our Griffith care home residents and their families for the shortcomings recently identified by the Department of Health.

“This is unacceptable,” she said.

“We are committed to promptly addressing the issues identified and are working with the Department of Health to resolve the issues,” Ms Cooper said.

How can such a large provider fail so often?

Bupa Australia Aged Care is one of the largest aged care providers in Australia. It operates more than 70 facilities around the country and has more than 6,700 residents in its care.

The company is a subsidiary of UK-based Bupa, a global healthcare behemoth that operates in 190 countries around the world.

Dr Rodney Jilek, principal adviser with Aged Care Consulting and Advisory Services, questions the practice of larger operators pushing out smaller niche operators.

He told HelloCare that sometimes large operators can be too focussed on the bottom line.

“The problem is they lose touch with those they care for,” he said.  

“I have worked for a number of large providers and they have all been disconnected from their staff as residents. It all becomes about shareholders and making money.”

Dr Jilek also said it can sometimes be easier for large operators to miss areas of non-compliance.

“Because of their size, this [non-compliance] is not formally picked up,” he said.

What can you do if you are concerned?

Ms Cooper said Bupa will keep residents and their families informed throughout the sancion progress.

She said anyone with concerns can contact the company on 1800 804 888, or via email at bupaagedcarefeedback@bupa.com.au, or on Bupa Australia’s Speak Up Hotline on 1800 479 241.

Please note: the image used to illustrate this article does not depict actual people or events.

 

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