The western Sydney nursing home which has been decimated by an outbreak of COVID-19 has had managers appointed by the aged care watchdog.
The western Sydney nursing home which has been decimated by an outbreak of COVID-19 has had managers appointed by the aged care watchdog.

Newmarch House in danger of losing licence

The aged care watchdog has waded into the ongoing debacle at COVID-19 riddled Newmarch House and ordered managers to appoint an independent advisor to step into the home within 24 hours - or risk having its licence revoked.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has ordered Anglicare not admit new residents, appoint an independent advisor and ensure all direction and advice is acted on by 5pm on Thursday.

The Anglicare Newmarch House in Kingswood could lose its licence to operate after a mass COVID-19 outbreak. Picture: Christian Gilles
The Anglicare Newmarch House in Kingswood could lose its licence to operate after a mass COVID-19 outbreak. Picture: Christian Gilles

The powerful commission said they were making the orders because of the "provider's response to the outbreak and lack of suitable processes and systems in order to control transmission of the virus" and the complaints they had received about the safety and quality of care at the home.

The complaints were lodged between April 15-30.

"The Commission has identified that there is an immediate and severe risk to the health,

safety and wellbeing of care recipients at the Service," the notice reads.

The Commission has "serious concerns" in regards to the home's compliance with multiple conditions including that each person is being treated with dignity and respect and that infection-related risks are being minimised.

 

Eighty-one year old Newmarch House resident Jan Doble, who has coronavirus. Picture: Christian Gilles
Eighty-one year old Newmarch House resident Jan Doble, who has coronavirus. Picture: Christian Gilles

 

"The Commission is acutely aware that aged care consumers are among those who are most vulnerable to the virus and the risks it presents to people's health and life," Commissioner Janet Anderson said.

"We are using the full range of our regulatory powers to ensure that providers meet their obligations with respect to the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards), and to implement all necessary steps to mitigate the risks of transmission of the virus.

"The COVID-19 outbreak at Newmarch House in Western Sydney during this pandemic has been one of the most devastating in Australia, with 16 residents having lost their lives to the virus."

"This is a tragic situation, and the anxiety and grief experienced by residents, their family members and staff has had an impact on all Australians."

 

Flowers outside the Anglicare Newmarch House in Kingswood. Picture: Christian Gilles
Flowers outside the Anglicare Newmarch House in Kingswood. Picture: Christian Gilles

 

As from April 23, the commission has taken regulatory actions to prevent the home from failing to meet Quality Standards, including issuing an administrative direction and a noncompliance notice.

A commission spokeswoman said: "Should the provider fail to agree, their approval to provide Australian Government subsidised aged care may be revoked."

"Once a provider has agreed to an NTA, they are required to do the actions they've agreed to. If they don't they may be sanctioned."

Anglicare Sydney CEO Grant Millard said the situation at the home has "substantially improve".

"We will continue to collaborate with key stakeholders as we work through the continuing challenges in the coming weeks."

Relatives outside Newmarch House in Kingswood. Picture: Monique Harmer
Relatives outside Newmarch House in Kingswood. Picture: Monique Harmer

Son of Newmarch House COVID-19 positive resident Patricia Shea, Anthony Bowe said: "It's about time someone was sitting looking over Anglicare's shoulder, they're accountable now.

"They've been appalling in the way they've managed the outbreak and then its communication to relatives.

"Let's hope this finally gives them the kick they need to get their act together. "As soon as I can get my mum out of that I will."

Yesterday family's of the residents called for their loved ones who do not have COVID-19 to be moved to hotels rooms which NSW Health said was allowed but protocols had be followed and it had to be the resident's decision.

Originally published as Newmarch House in danger of losing licence


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