Minister Richard Colbeck’s aged care regulator gave Newmarch House the green-light to keep operating despite it failing over 80 per cent of its compliance standards after 2020’s deadly Covid-19 outbreak.
The Covid-19 outbreak that swept through the western Sydney aged care facility, infecting 71 and taking 19 lives, was declared officially over on June 15, 2020.
The following month, inspectors with the Federal Government’s Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) completed a four-day site inspection at Newmarch House.
A copy of their finding , obtained by The Klaxon, reveals Newmarch House was “non-compliant” in a massive 35 of its 42 compliance criteria.
It received one of the worst report cards ever handed out to an Australian aged care facility.
It makes for highly disturbing reading.
Alarm bells were “repeatedly not being answered”; resident’s end of life preferences were “not identified or addressed in accordance with the consumer’s expressed wishes”; staff “did not follow procedures in terms of monitoring of infections”; and Anglicare Sydney failed to demonstrate it had “effective risk management systems and practices” or an “effective clinical governance framework”.
“Skin care, falls management, medication management continence care, end of life care, nutrition and hydration and incident management…does not optimise consumer health and well-being,” the audit report says.
“Skin care, falls management, medication management continence care, end of life care, nutrition and hydration and incident management…does not optimise consumer health and well-being” — Newmarch House audit
“Risks are not considered in assessment and planning to inform the delivery of safe and effective care to each consumer in relation to diabetes and insulin management, prevention and management of urinary tract infection, fluid intake, falls prevention and management and bowel management.
“While some sampled consumers consider that they receive personal care and clinical care that is safe and right for them, most do not,” it says.
Yet despite the devastating findings – uncovered by the ACQSC’s own professional inspectors – the aged care watchdog not only decided “not to revoke accreditation” of the service, it inexplicably extended Newmarch’s accreditation period.
Newmarch House is run by the Anglican Church-owned Anglicare Sydney.
Results of July 2020 audit into Newmarch House. Source: ACQSC
The revelations come amid mounting calls for Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck to resign.
During the past month Covid-19 infections in aged care facilities have exploded – from 385 active infections among residents and staff on December 23 to 23,900 active infections at the end of January.
At the start of December there were 28 aged care facilities nationwide with Covid-19 outbreaks – now there are 1,176.
Last month it emerged that among them, once again, is Sydney’s Newmarch House.
Active aged care Covid-19 cases. Source: Australian Government Department of Health
Yesterday Prime Minister Scott Morrison, following mounting public outcry, announced he would call in the armed forces in an attempt to get a grip on the crisis, in a mounting scandal experts say is threatening his leadership.
The Federal Opposition has repeatedly called for Colbeck to resign.
Last month Colbeck said he couldn’t attend the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 along with other health officials because he was busy dealing with the Omicron outbreak.
It later emerged the Aged Care Minister had been at the cricket.
TIMELINE OF NEGLECT:
September: Newmarch House audit, 44 of 44 standards met
April 12: Newmarch House Covid-19 outbreak begins
May 6: Anglicare given a “Notice to Agree” by ACQSC, including to appoint an “independent advisor” for three months.
May 7: Advisor Kinkade starts “three-month” appointment
June 15: Newmarch House outbreak declared over. 71 Covid-19 cases, 19 resident deaths
June 19: ACQSC boss Anderson announces Kinkade will finish up one month early, ending “in the week commencing 29 June 2020”
June 23: ABC’s 4 Corners airs report on Newmarch House
June 30-July 3: ASQSC experts conduct Newmarch House site inspection
August 14: Inspection report finalised – Newmarch fails 35 of 42 standards
August 14 (Same day): ACQSC management says it will “not to revoke accreditation of this service”. Inexplicably extends Newmarch House’s accreditation
January 4: Newmarch House records new Covid-19 infection
Aged care facilities are subject to sporadic audits by ACQSC inspectors and must meet 42 compliance requirements.
The findings of the inspectors are particularly remarkable, given the inspection occurred at Newmarch House – the site of what was the nation’s biggest Covid-19 outbreak.
Newmarch House was the most scrutinised aged care facility in the country – if not the nation’s history.
Newmarch House had been inspected two years earlier, in September 2018, and “met 44 of the 44 expected outcomes of the Accreditation Standards”, according to ACQSC.
(The number of ACQSC assessment criteria has been dropped from 44 to 42).
The July 2020 inspection, which Newmarch House comprehensively failed, was conducted after an “independent advisor” had been installed at the facility.
On May 6, 2020, facing a media storm, the ACQSC said Newmarch House must immediately stop taking in new residents and employ an “independent advisor”.
Anglicare was to “ensure that directions by the advisor are actioned immediately and without delay” and to “provide regular reporting to (the ACQSC) on specified matters”.
Newmarch House “independent advisor” Andrew Kinkade. Source: Supplied
The advisor employed at Newmarch House was lawyer and former Macquarie Bank investment banker Andrew Kinkade.
Kinkade, also previously a consultant with Bain Capital, was general manager of residential care at Catholic Healthcare from 2017 until May last year, when he became a managing director of Bupa Dental Care.
The ACQSC said Kinkade had been appointed for three-month term – at Anglicare Sydney’s expense – from May 7 to August 8, 2020.
Anglicare Sydney’s total assets have exploded in recent years on the back of huge taxpayer subsidies. Source: Anglicare Sydney. Graphic: The Klaxon
Yet on June 19, ACQSC Commissioner Janet Anderson wrote to Anglicare Sydney and said that now the Covid-19 outbreak was “over” Kinkade would finish up one month early.
(That announcement was four days before ABC’s 4 Corners aired a report on Newmarch House, on June 23).
Kinkade would finish up “in the week beginning 29 June, 2020”.
The inspectors wound up their four day inspection of Newmarch House at the same time, on Friday July 3, 2020.
In a statement at the time, ACQSC boss Anderson said Kinkade “has played an instrumental role in strengthening Newmarch House’s response to the outbreak”.
“His knowledge, expertise and experience have been pivotal in driving improvements in the operation of the service,” Anderson wrote.
Kinkade did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Headed by Anderson, the ACQSC’s “principal role” is to “protect and enhance” the safety, health and well-being of aged care residents. Source: ACQSC
Despite the July 2020 inspection failing Newmarch House in 35 of its 42 criteria, ACQSC management in August 2020 extended Newmarch House’s accreditation.
As previously revealed, the CEO of Anglicare Sydney, Grant Millard, previously ran international tax affairs at a global arm of confirmed multinational tax-cheat Coca-Cola.
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