Minister open to more cameras in aged care

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Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt is open to placing security cameras in all nursing home rooms so any potential abuses can be detected.

Mr Wyatt is also supportive of a star-rating system for residential aged-care facilities, ahead of a royal commission into the sector which will begin by the end of this year.

The minister believes were it not for secret cameras hidden in aged-care suites by family members, several high profile cases of violence and neglect would never have come to light.

He acknowledges there are privacy concerns around installing mandatory cameras, but says the discussion is not off the table.

"I can appreciate the families who are very strongly supportive now of cameras within those rooms," Mr Wyatt told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"None of this would have been known without that footage as to how those individuals were treated."

The minister is on board with an aged care star-rating system similar to the My School website, which profiles almost 10,000 Australian schools.

Mr Wyatt said the majority of aged-care facilities provide quality service, but there is an "insidious" side to some centres which the public does not see.

He has been looking to the United Kingdom for inspiration, which has a traffic light style system.

"We will continue to look at a star rating for the future because it is absolutely critical."

Mr Wyatt is also considering ordering safety and compliance officers to perform unannounced night-time spot checks on residential centres, to make sure the number of staff and levels of care are adequate.

Submissions to the aged-care royal commission close on Tuesday.

The minister will then hold a series of meetings to finalise the terms of reference and identify the commissioners.

"It will start this year, I'm very keen to get it moving," Mr Wyatt said.

Ian Yates, from national advocacy group Council on the Ageing, said the commission must investigate appropriate penalties for neglect, excessive restraint and abuse in residential aged care.

Mr Yates said the inquiry must also examine the need for more effective monitoring of staff and use of CCTV cameras.

He wants older Australians and their families to be able to easily see the history of complaints and serious incidents levelled against nursing homes to guide their decision-making.

© AAP 2018

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