Newmarch House 2nd Deadliest COVID-19 Cluster – CEO to Appear Before Inquiry

covid19 agedcare

After the release of the final report by the royal commission into aged care Grant Millard, head of Anglicare Sydney has been summoned to appear before the NSW parliamentary inquiry into aged care after initially declining to attend.

Chief Executive of Anglicare-owned facility Newmarch House, Millard will give evidence to the inquiry investigating registered nurses in aged care homes. Millard will also answer questions about the handling of the COVID-19 cluster at Newmarch House.

This Western Sydney nursing home became the second-deadliest COVID-19 cluster in Australia. There were 71 cases of COVID-19 across both residents and staff and 19 deaths over the two months from April 2020. Almost one in five COVID-19 deaths occurred in the Newmarch House cluster.

At the height of the crisis, Newmarch House lost 87 percent of its usual staff, highlighting the need for a surge workforce. However, surge workforce training for aged care facilities did not start until October/November of 2020, a full seven months after the April outbreak in Newmarch House.

A crucial part of the health response should have been a replacement workforce in place in case of a COVID-19 cluster in aged care.