The coronavirus-hit nursing home at the centre of Sydney’s worst outbreak could lose its licence, with the federal aged care commissioner arguing there’s a “severe risk” at the facility.
Sixteen people have died at Newmarch House and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission wrote to operator Anglicare on Wednesday demanding it agrees to a number of conditions, including that it does not admit any new residents “until it can demonstrate … that the serious risk to care recipients at the service has been effectively addressed”.
Newmarch House must also agree to immediately appoint an independent adviser to ensure the safety and wellbeing of existing residents, follow their advice “without delay” and provide regular updates to the commission.
The commission said it was intervening “due to the seriousness of the outbreak of COVID-19” at the nursing home near Penrith and the deaths.
Its coronavirus task force was concerned about Anglicare’s response to the outbreak and “lack of suitable processes and systems in order to control transmission of the virus”.
It was also troubled by complaints from residents and their families about the lack of information provided regarding the outbreak.
“The commission has identified there is an immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care recipients at the service,” it said when demanding Anglicare agree to the new conditions by Thursday evening.
Aged care commissioner Janet Anderson said the commission had taken graduated regulatory action since April 23 in response to “escalating concerns”.
“The commission has escalated our enforcement as a consequence of continued evidence of lack of effective infection control,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
Anglicare chief executive Grant Millard said while the outbreak at Newmarch House had proven challenging, “the situation has substantially improved”.
“We will continue to collaborate with key stakeholders as we work through the continuing challenges in the coming weeks,” Mr Millard said in a statement on Wednesday.