MEDIA RELEASE: COTA welcomes new Charter of Aged Care Rights but deeply concerned at delay in when providers have to give it to consumers

Peak older persons advocate, COTA Australia, today welcomed the release today of a new single, strengthened Charter of Rights in aged care that applies across residential and home care and are written in strong, clear and plain English.

New laws will also for the first time compel all aged care providers to provide a personally signed copy of the Charter to every one of their residents and care recipients, at the same time giving them – or their authorised representative – the opportunity to co-sign the document.

COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates, said “We look forward to the Charter coming into effect on 1 July; having worked on its development with government ad other stakeholders for a long time.

“However, we express deep concern that the government has given in to pressure from provider groups to delay the requirement for providers to give the Charter to residents and home care consumers.

“The Charter does not come into force until 1 July 2019, which gives providers more than three months to inform their customers of the legal rights; but Residential providers get three extra months to 30 September provide residents with the Charter, and Home Care provider get until 31 December.

If providers are so badly organised that they need extra time, 30 September is the absolute latest we would find acceptable – that’s six months to communicate with their customers about their basic rights

“Why on earth would it take a provider nine months to tell consumers about the Charter? I am sure if they were telling them about an increase in fees it would only take a month or two at most!” Mr Yates said.

“After recent experience with many Home Care providers not complying with the Minister’s requirement that they publish service information and prices in an understandable way, who knows when Home Care consumers will hear about their rights under the Charter?

“COTA reminds all providers that the Charter is in force from 1 July and COTA will be publicising this to consumers”, Mr Yates said.

“We urge providers who really do put consumers first to set a much earlier deadline and those who do COTA will publicly welcome and draw to people’s attention.

 Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280