Strengthening protections for older Australians – Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS)
Australians have a right to live free from abuse and neglect as a matter of human rights, current law, and a reasonable community expectation. Older Australians also have specific rights and expectations when receiving Commonwealth funded aged care services.
The intent of a SIRS is to strengthen the governance of the risk of harm arising from abuse and neglect of older people in residential aged care, by building provider capacity to better respond to incidents if and when they occur and ensure consumers are supported appropriately.
The proposed SIRS together with, other regulatory settings including the Aged Care Quality Standards, the Charter of Aged Care Rights and open disclosure, will support providers to engage in risk management and continuous improvement activities to deliver safe, quality care to residential aged care consumers.
In March 2019, the Government released the Strengthening protections for older Australians - Development of models and options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme for Commonwealth-funded aged care service providers report (the KPMG report).
Following this, in the 2019-20 Budget, the Government provided $1.5 million for further preparatory work for the introduction of a SIRS. This preparatory work is focussed on refining the details of a SIRS, for implementation in residential aged care in the first instance.
- Undertaking consultation on the finer details of the SIRS;
- Commencing work on the necessary legislative amendments;
- Procuring a research study into the prevalence of aggression between residents, which is currently exempt from current reporting, to inform an expanded definition of serious incidents; and
- Undertaking a scoping study for a possible register of staff for the aged care industry.
Consultations to assist in the development of the finer details of operation of the SIRS have now closed. Feedback received will inform advice to Government, including the structure and operation of the scheme, legislative requirements and resourcing implications.
The outcomes of the consultation processes will be published here once finalised.