Our client: the Commonwealth Department of Health

Major policy and legislative reviews amass a huge volume of material. Reviews risk becoming mired in detail, trying to acknowledge wide consultation feedback, summarise complex policy and law, and cover off all the terms of reference. The team from Hamilton Stone, led by Ian Holland, did a superb job in providing analysis, writing and editorial advice for the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes. We found their fresh, external eyes, at a late stage of the review, invaluable. They brought hearts as well as heads to the sensitive topic of residential aged care quality. They produced excellent written work, met very tight deadlines and helped us produce a timely, clear and accessible report and recommendations
— Professor Ron Paterson ONZM

We were engaged by the Commonwealth Department of Health to assist the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes

In response to the Oakden Report, which detailed failures in the quality of care residents received at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Service in South Australia, the Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, in May 2017 announced a Review of National Aged Care Regulatory Processes, and appointed Kate Carnell AO and Professor Ron Paterson ONZM to lead the review.

What we did for the Review 

Hamilton Stone provided research, writing and editorial advice for this important Review. Our work spanned researching and evaluating current regulation, data analysis and investigation of the Oakden facility's assessment history, and fact-checking and auditing of the research undertaken by other consultants and stakeholders. We prepared content across a number of the Review's chapters and recommendations, and worked closely with Department of Health staff who also assisted the Review. 

The review was an intensive process, and we supplied 7-days-a-week support and services when required, rapidly turning drafts around for the client, sometimes several times per day. The emphasis was on sharing the work to get it completed, and ensuring standards of evidence and presentation were maintained while under pressure. The Report was released on 25 October 2017. You can access it here.  

The Report had an immediate impact, with the Government implementing one of the critical recommendations straightaway - unannounced audits of residential aged care homes replacing announced visits.  It was widely covered by media, including the Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC,  the Guardian, and NewsMail.  Peak body Council of the Ageing (COTA) welcomed the report and its key recommendations, saying that the report contains "bold but realistic recommendations to strengthen and sharpen accreditation and complaints processes." 

Reforms have since continued to flow from the Report's recommendations, including the establishment of a new national independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, supported by peak bodies including National Seniors Australia and Dementia Australia.  

The Review of Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes has already had significant and positive impact, and we're proud to have made an important contribution to aged care reform.  In late 2017 and early 2018 we wrote more detail about the reforms on our blog here.