ROYAL COMMISSION: Prime Minister Scott Morrison says issues can't be ignored.
ROYAL COMMISSION: Prime Minister Scott Morrison says issues can't be ignored. DEAN LEWINS

Aged care advocates rejoice as PM announces royal commission

AGED care advocates have praised Prime Minister Scott Morrison's call for a royal commission into aged care.

In the past year, the NewsMail has covered myriad stories of neglect, abuse and understaffing in the region's aged care facilities.

One was the story of a man named Bill who had been left in his own faeces and suffering a bleeding scrotum in Bundaberg's TriCare facility.

His wife Heather Mansell Brown has fought for a royal commission since.

Speaking to the NewsMail yesterday, Ms Mansell Brown said she and other advocates were in a state of "euphoric shock".

"This is monumental and it's a shame there's been so much suffering of elderly people to get to this point," she said.

"It should never have got to this stage in the first place."


ADVOCATE: Heather Mansell Brown.
ADVOCATE: Heather Mansell Brown. Contributed

Ms Mansell Brown said the next stage in the fight would be to secure adequate remuneration in the industry.

"The carers are getting a pittance and they do such a brilliant job," she said.

Former NewsMail reporter Eliza Goetze, who broke Ms Mansell Brown's story, said she was pleased to hear the royal commission had been announced.

"The stories that we uncovered in Bundaberg were probably the tip of the iceberg," Ms Goetze said.

"It's been shown to be a national issue and if the banking royal commission is anything to go by, I think a lot more is going to come out and it's what the community is crying out for."

Mr Morrision yesterday spoke of his intention to announce the royal commission, saying it was impossible to ignore the appalling abuse of the nation's elderly.

It was a move welcomed, with some trepidation, by the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union. QNMU secretary Beth Mohle said she was happy to see the royal commission announced, but hoped issues such as staffing would be addressed sooner rather than later.

"We welcome any examination of the evidence but we're just getting exhausted by the amount of effort we're putting in," Ms Mohle said.

"We don't want any more inquiries, we want action."

Ms Mohle echoed Ms Mansell Brown's sentiments on nurse pay rates, saying it was an urgent issue.

"The pay's just appalling in aged care so you can't attract people to work there," she said.

The news comes as the ABC's Four Corners program prepares to air a damning expose into the aged care industry, starting tonight.