The prime minister has apologised for the failures in the aged care system, after the royal commission put the blame for shortcomings squarely on the shoulders of the federal government.

At a press conference today, he said, “On the days the system falls short, on the days that expectations aren’t met, I’m deeply sorry about that. Of course I am. 

“And I know everyone who was involved in the process, who was trying to meet those expectations, is equally sorry.” 

“Not good enough”

The prime minister said it was “not good enough” when aged care residents were left with no one to care for them.

“On days when workforces were completely stripped from facilities and there’s nobody there, and you scramble for a workforce to try to put them in place, and you have ADF officers go in at 11 o’clock at night to try to clean up the mess, that’s not good enough,” he said. 

“But they were the actions we had to take to stabilise those situations,” Scott Morrison said.

Statements from royal commission are not a finding

Mr Morrison was grilled by reporters about the royal commission’s scathing criticism.

He rejected the royal commission’s claims the government has no plan for aged care during the pandemic.

“That is not a royal commission finding,” he said.

“That is a statement that has been made by the counsel assisting. So that is not a finding of the royal commission.”

No guarantees

But Mr Morrison said there are no guarantees in a global pandemic.

“Guarantees in a global pandemic, if someone’s offering them to you, then they’re not being straight with you. So I’m going to be straight with you,” he said.

Mr Morrison said most aged care facilities in Melbourne had not experienced COVID-19 outbreaks.

“There are more than 350 aged care facilities in Melbourne. We have been dealing with acute responses in about half a dozen,” he said.

“There are many more facilities that actually have COVID cases, but the overwhelming majority, almost entirely, of those cases, of those facilities, are managing,” he said.

Victoria recorded 372 more cases on Friday, and 14 deaths, making the total aged care death toll 188.

 

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