November 03, 2019 19:01:13
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the Government will do more to stop the drugging of elderly people in aged care homes, but has stopped short of offering details.
- Greg Hunt said the Government would “look at the elements outlined in the royal commission and adopt them” when asked about informed consent
- The Health Minister added there would be “significant” investment in the health sector soon
- He would not clarify how much
It strongly condemned the use of drugs to sedate and control elderly residents, describing the practice as “inhumane, abusive and unjustified”.
“A lack of permission in the use of restraint and prolonged use of powerful chemical restraints is common in Australia,” the commission said in a statement.
Fronting the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday, Mr Hunt told interviewer Fran Kelly that: “We will be taking stronger action on those things.”
Referring back to Friday’s COAG meeting of federal and state ministers, which agreed to make the safe use of medicines a national priority, he said: “The thing that we were able to do immediately, as we got the priorities, was to go into the Council of Australian Governments’ Health Minister meeting and do what no Government has ever done, and take the issue of chemical restraints, to make the question of the safe use of medicines, a national priority.”
Asked if informed consent should be given before patients were administered powerful sedatives, he said: “Our approach is to look at the elements outlined in the royal commission and to adopt them, and we think that that is an important and necessary step.
“The understanding of the role of families, the ability to make sure that we have checks and balances, are critical.”
Mr Hunt said there would be “significant” investment in the sector soon, but would not be drawn on how much.
“The big change is to deal with what the commission refers to as an ageist society, and respect,” he said.
“And respect is both government and communal. And this is the moment, this is the line in the sand, together, where we change the way that Australians deal with ageing in what is, by definition, an ageing society.”
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