Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was announced in September 2018 by the Federal Government. Generally speaking, its work is to enquire into the aged care sector and make recommendations for the future operation of the sector.

As part of this, it will also look at the quality and safety of aged care services, community attitudes towards ageing, how best to meet the healthcare needs of older persons, how best to support younger disabled persons currently residing in aged care homes and the sustainability of the aged care system into the future.

Catholic Healthcare’s Response to the Royal Commission

As an organisation committed to delivering quality care to our residents and clients, Catholic Healthcare welcomes the Royal Commission and intends to fully support the Commission in its important work.

To this end, In January 2019, Catholic Heatlhcare, submitted a comprehensive response to questions asked by the Commission of all approved providers of aged care services in Australia.  We are aware that many other providers have responded to these questions, as well.

We expect that in the coming months, the Commission will focus on many areas of importance to residents, clients, families, providers and the aged care sector as a whole. We intend to provide regular communications and also welcome your feedback which is always important to ensure we are meeting our goal to deliver high quality, compassionate care to our residents and clients at all times.

In addition to Government accreditation processes, our residential aged care homes and community services undergo regular quality audits to enable continuous improvement. All Catholic Healthcare homes and services are fully reviewed and accredited.

Royal Commission Support Team

In preparation for the Royal Commission Catholic Healthcare established a Royal Commission Support Team to ensure that we are ready to engage, and that any requests from the Royal Commission are handled and responded to promptly, accurately and efficiently.

The Team is led by our Chief Counsel.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is a formal inquiry established under the Royal Commissions Act 1902. This is how it gets “Royal” in its title.

Royal Commissions are usually established when there is matter of great importance and complexity to be considered.

In the Australian system of government, Royal Commissions are the highest form of inquiry.

What is the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety?

It is a formal inquiry that has been established to enquire into the aged care sector. The specifics of this inquiry are set out in the “Terms of Reference” of the Royal Commission and include the quality and safety of aged care services, community attitudes towards ageing, how best to meet the healthcare needs of older persons, how best to support younger disabled persons currently residing in aged care homes and the sustainability of the aged care system into the future.

The Federal Government has appointed two Commissioners to oversee the Commission, hear and consider the evidence presented and make recommendations. They are;

  • The Honourable Richard Tracey AM RFD QC – Mr Tracey was a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 2006 until 2018, President of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal from 2009 until 2018, and Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force from 2007 until 2014.
  • Lynelle Briggs AO – a former Australian Public Service Commissioner and current Chair of the General Insurance Code of Governance Committee, Non-executive director of Maritime Super and Goodstart Early Learning and leader of the Government’s review of the Online Safety Act.
What will the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety do?

What is examined by a Royal Commission is defined in a legal document called “Letters Patent” which sets out the Scope and Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission.


The Royal Commission is directed to look at all forms of Commonwealth funded aged care services – regardless of where they are delivered

Terms of Reference

  • Quality and safety including the extent of substandard care.
  • How to best deliver care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities including younger people.
  • How to best deliver care to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia.
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services, including people’s desire to remain living at home as they age, and aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia.
  • What the Government, the aged care sector, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen care services to ensure quality and safety.
  • How to allow people greater choice, control and independence and how to improve engagement with families and carers.
  • How to best deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care and investment in the aged care workforce and infrastructure.
  • Any matters that the Commissioners believe is relevant to their inquiry.


The Royal Commission has also been asked to specifically focus on a number of areas such as the quality and safety of aged care services including but not limited to;

  • Dignity
  • Choice and control
  • Clinical care
  • Medication management
  • Mental health
  • Personal care
  • Nutrition
  • Positive behaviour supports to reduce or eliminate the use of restrictive practices
  • End of life care
  • Systems to ensure that high quality care is delivered, such as governance arrangements and management support systems

The Royal Commission will also examine;

  • Workforce, carer supports
  • Diversity of older Australian and barriers to accessing high quality care
  • Interface with other services – primary health, acute care and disability services
  • Examples of good practice/innovative models of care
  • Finding of other reports and inquiries.
When will the Royal Commission commence and how long will it go for?

The Royal Commission is currently underway with initial information from some providers, including Catholic Healthcare, submitted in January 2019 and with hearings commencing on the 11th February 2019. The Federal Government has asked the Royal Commission to provide an interim report by the 31 October 2019 and a final report by 30 April 2020.

How will the Royal Commission impact Catholic Healthcare?

As a significant provider of aged care services in residential and in-home setting across Australia, Catholic Healthcare’s services will be included in the work of the Royal Commission.

This is an important undertaking for our industry and as an organisation committed to ongoing improvement we see the Royal Commission as an opportunity to look at how we can ensure our services continue to get better.

We welcome the opportunity to participate in and support the Royal Commission. In doing so, we will engage openly and transparently with the Commission, responding to any requests as quickly as possible.

We have set up a dedicated Royal Commission Support Team to ensure that Catholic Healthcare is ready to engage with the Royal Commission and respond to any requests in a timely, accurate and efficient manner.

What is role of the Royal Commission Catholic Healthcare Support Team?

The Support Team will ensure that requests from the Commission are responded to promptly and efficiently. The Support Team is also available to respond to questions relating to the Commission from residents, clients and families via the following dedicated options:

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The Support Team also aims to provide information and updates relating to the Commission to keep you informed and reduce any concern among residents, clients, families and employees.

Questions relating to particular residents, clients or patients, however, would be best directed, to the relevant Service Manager, for their consideration and response, as these Services Managers would be the most familiar with individual residents and clients.

How will the Royal Commission impact me?

Catholic Healthcare will continue to deliver the highest quality service to clients and residents throughout the Royal Commission.

Royal Commissions can be unsettling for residents, clients and your families and carers. Catholic Heatlhcare will do everything we can to support you through this process by keeping you informed about the Royal Commission’s work.

If you have any concerns about the Royal Commission or issues you would like to raise, please contact our Royal Commission Support Team.

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Will the Royal Commission look at Catholic Healthcare’s services?

Yes. As one of the larger aged care providers in Australia, Catholic Healthcare has provided initial information to the Commission in January 2019.

It is expected that all aged care providers across Australia will be involved in the work of the Royal Commission. Some providers will also be called before the Commission.

Catholic Healthcare has setup a Royal Commission Support Team so that we can proactively engage with the Commission’s work accurately and efficiently.

How can I get involved if I want to?

The Royal Commission will issue guidance material which outlines the process for submissions and other information to be provided to the Commission, and the timeframes which will have to be met.

If you have something you would like Catholic Healthcare to consider please contact our Royal Commission Support Team on:

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Will you keep me updated?

Yes. We will continue to update the information on this web page to keep you informed on the work and progress of the Royal Commission and Catholic Healthcare’s involvement.

Can I talk to someone at Catholic Healthcare about the Royal Commission?

Yes. We always encourage feedback from our residents, clients, their families and employees. This feedback is equally important if it is in regard to any questions or concerns that you have about the Royal Commission.

If you have any matters that you wish to discuss, please get in touch with our Royal Commission Support Team on:

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