Graham Downie August 12, 2012
WITH all sanctions on the troubled Ginninderra Gardens nursing home and hostel at Page lifted, Anglicare's chief executive Peter Sandeman has resigned his position and will shortly return to Adelaide.
Mr Sandeman moved to Canberra in January, 2010, having previously been the chief executive officer of the Anglican diocese of Adelaide. Before that, he was general manager community services of Mission Australia. He is to become chief executive of Anglicare South Australia.
Mr Sandeman said the momentum built over the past three years was terrific and it would have been great to have remained to reap rewards. But he was returning to Adelaide for family reasons.
Early this year, the federal Department of Health and Ageing found failings at Ginninderra Gardens included inadequate clinical skills, inadequate management of medication and inadequate documentation. All sanctions have been lifted and Anglicare has committed to an $8 million upgrade of the premises.
Mr Sandeman said Ginninderra Gardens would become a high-care service, specialising in dementia. This would mean a higher level of staff training and professional development.
''Funding of the sector and recruitment of aged care staff in the Canberra market are both challenges,'' he said. ''But I would never try to use them as excuses for what happened at Ginninderra.''
Aged care nurses were at a substantial financial disadvantage to acute care nurses.
''The opportunities for workers to move into more well-paid and perhaps less arduous work is a real challenge for any aged care provider in Canberra.'' More generally, he said Anglicare in the Canberra region was significantly ahead of its five-year recovery plan. Future challenges would include balancing the cost and quality of services and managing the National Disability Insurance Scheme. He said the scheme was a great model but individual choice would have to be balanced with the safety of carers.
Health and safety for people working alone, often in other people's houses, would have to be balanced with the preferred lifestyle of individuals. This would be a major issue for the scheme. So too would long-term security for individuals faced with short-term funding cycles.
Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Stuart Robinson said the most important legacy of Mr Sandeman's time in Canberra had been uniting Anglicare's operations across the dioceses of Bathurst, Riverina and Canberra and Goulburn. ''I deeply appreciate the service Peter has given to this diocese over the past three years,'' Bishop Robinson said. ''There have been some real challenges. However, Peter leaves us in a much stronger position, and with a clear plan in place for the future.''
Mr Sandeman said that during his almost three years in Canberra he had greatly appreciated the range of cultural institutions.