Newmarch House outbreak highlights critical need for hospital transfer of first positive residents

Release date: 24 Aug 2020

The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has welcomed today’s release of the Newmarch House report, broadly supporting the majority of the findings and recommendations of the independent review.

ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow said critical lessons must be taken from this important independent review and applied to planning for future outbreaks.

“What happened at Newmarch House is a tragedy for all concerned, the residents, their families, the staff at Newmarch House and all of us in the community,” she said today.

“The scale of the outbreak at Newmarch and the sudden depletion of staff were not anticipated in the services’ planning. This is a significant learning that occurred early on in the pandemic and one that must guide future planning.

“While there is community transmission we can’t guarantee cases won’t get into aged care, but our policies should aim for this and support early intervention.

“Once a single case gets into a facility it can be impossible to contain. 

“We urgently need all states to follow the lead of Queensland and South Australia where the first COVID-19 positive cases in aged care facilities are transferred to hospital.

“Aged care homes are not hospitals. They aren’t staffed like hospitals. They are not funded like hospitals. They are homes,” Ms Sparrow said.

ACSA’s policy position paper, A framework for the Aged Care and Healthcare interface during Covid-19, available here:


Media contact: Jane Garcia 0455 111 593

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia


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