13 Oct 2019

Probe report into Bupa care facility 'deeply troubling'

4:39 pm on 13 October 2019

A man is refusing comment on the provisional findings of a Health and Disability Commissioner's report because he says he will not dignify a sham.

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Robert Love said an initial HDC report was marred with errors and was time-consuming to debunk. Photo: 123rf.com

Robert Love complained to the Commissioner (HDC) in 2017 about the way his mother was treated while residing in a Bupa aged-care home.

However, he said the HDC's process was biased and favoured Bupa because it got to see the full report, whereas he only could see part of it.

The Commissioner Anthony Hill said the process was standard, and in the interests of natural justice, when a party was being accused.

"In accordance with the [law] those parties against whom an adverse finding or comment might be made are given the draft investigation opinion with the opportunity to respond to the provisional findings or comments.

"The person making the complaint is given the information gathered part of the report so they can if they wish comment on the accuracy of the information."

Mr Love disagreed and said, in this case, it gave Bupa an advantage because it got to see how the Commissioner had interpreted the evidence, and comment on that, not just the evidence at face-value.

In an email to the HDC, he said an initial report was marred with errors and was time-consuming to debunk.

"I determined that it was unlikely to be helpful to repeat this exercise. I note that [the first] expert advisor was replaced and a new report commissioned. However... I made no comment on your second expert advisor's report.

"This should not be interpreted as agreement or acceptance of that report on my part. I will not directly respond to your latest request for comment on the evidence you have gathered, other than to say the material is deeply troubling for the way you have presented that evidence and the many omissions that are evident, including those of an independent witness."

Mr Love said the HDC was supposed to champion the rights of the consumer, but he did not think that was the case.

"I am informed by your website that you consider your purpose to be the promotion and protection of consumers' rights as set out in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights. Further to that this includes resolving complaints in a fair, timely, and effective way.

"With regard to my case there has been nothing in the past 34 months that remotely suggests fair, timely or effective. The Commission has utterly failed to promote or protect consumer rights for my mother and, by association, myself."

He has penned an open letter to the Health Minister David Clark urging him to intervene.

However, a spokesperson for the minister said it would be inappropriate for the government to get involved.

Mr Love said there had been numerous occasions where he wanted to give up on pursuing the complaint.

"Most folk simply do not have the ability to be as stubborn as I have been."

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