Auditing the Auditors: tighter rules for rest home auditors
The auditors who check rest homes will now have to be approved by an international agency under new rules announced today.
This is on top of the Ministry of Health auditing rest home auditors over the past six months.
"Tougher conditions governing these organisations will improve transparency and confidence in the way rest homes are audited" says Health Minister Tony Ryall.
"Rest home auditors will now be accredited by an agency approved by the Ministry of Health or they risk losing their ability to provide audits. All audit agencies must meet this requirement by Christmas."
The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) and the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) have been identified as suitable third party accreditation bodies to accredit New Zealand's rest home audit agencies.
This latest announcement continues a set of changes instigated by the National government to improve the safety and quality of rest home care.
"The government inherited mounting public concern about poor care in rest homes" Mr Ryall says.
Last year the Office of the Auditor General found that the Ministry of Health struggled for years under the previous government to ensure the quality and safety of rest home services.
"The OAG report was highly critical of the lack of action by the Labour government between 2002 and 2008 and particularly critical of the agencies that audit rest homes. This government's changes also address the OAG's recommendations."
The National Government's actions for improving aged care include:
• $18 Million extra per year to improve the quality of supervision and nursing in aged residential care facilities to help them support and retain nursing staff.
• $16 million more in rest home subsidies in 2010/11.
• an extra $5 million annually for more respite beds – so more people looking after their elderly at home can take a break when they need it.
• rest home audits published on line to help elderly people and their families make choices.
• profiles of "at risk" rest homes to identify those rest homes that may need additional supervision and monitoring.
"It is crucial we restore and maintain public confidence in the standard of care being provided in the country's rest homes for all our elderly. We've inherited a big problem but are working to give New Zealanders greater confidence in this area."