Aged Care Commissioner

Being able to access safe, quality health care is not only essential to older people’s wellbeing, but is a fundamental right, protected by the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer’s Rights.  

New Zealanders are living longer. By 2034, 21 per cent of our population will be aged 65 years and over. Many older people are living well, but as we age there’s a greater chance that we will develop a long-term health condition or a disability needing ongoing support.

A dedicated Aged Care Commissioner is being established within the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner to give greater oversight of the aged care sector, and to give older people and their whānau more confidence in the quality and safety of aged care.

Role and responsibilities

As a Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner, the Aged Care Commissioner will be a statutory decision-maker on complaints and formal investigations about older people’s health and disability services, and whether their rights have been breached under the Code. 

The Aged Care Commissioner will:

  • provide strategic oversight and leadership to drive quality improvement
  • analyse emerging issues and report on improvements in the aged care sector
  • advocate on behalf of consumers and their whānau for better services, and support the Government’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The focus of the new role is on health and disability services, as per the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 .  The Aged Care Commissioner will not have responsibilities for issues such as family violence (for example, elder abuse), housing, or retirement income, but will work closely with the Human Rights Commission, the Retirement Commission, the Ombudsman, the Office for Seniors, and the Health Quality and Safety Commission, and others who have responsibilities for older people’s issues like these.

The Aged Care Commissioner will be monitoring the responsiveness of the health and disability system to the needs of older people, including those most vulnerable to poor health outcomes.   

Recruitment is underway

The Health and Disability Commissioner is currently recruiting for the new role and expects an appointment will be made by January 2022.

In the lead up, the HDC will be engaging key people and organisations involved in aged care to build a deeper understanding of the health and disability issues facing older people, and establish relationships and networks that the Aged Care Commissioner can draw on. 

You can still make a complaint

HDC continues to promote and protect the rights of consumers as set out in the Code and will be working to improve the timeliness and early resolution of older people and others’ complaints. People who have concerns about the care they or others have experienced have a number of different options for making a complaint