Ombudsman investigation into Department of Health's oversight of Mentone Gardens (a Supported Residential Service)

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Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass today announced an own motion investigation into the Department of Health’s oversight of Mentone Gardens, a Supported Residential Service (SRS) which went into voluntary administration in mid-2013.

“The investigation will examine what action was taken to ensure that the proprietors were fit to operate or to continue to operate an SRS facility,” Ms Glass said.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from former residents that the department failed to adequately oversee Mentone Gardens.

The residents lost money paid in advance to the company which operated the facility at the time of the voluntary administration.

“Enquiries that were undertaken as part of our initial assessment of the Mentone Gardens complaint have raised concerns which warrant further scrutiny,” Ms Glass said.

“Residents who enter SRS facilities often do so because they require special medical support, and they draw on considerable personal funds to ensure that they receive care in their later years," she said.

There are approximately 145 SRS facilities registered in Victoria.

SRS facilities do not receive government funding but must be registered with the department, which considers whether applicants are suitable and have the financial capacity to operate a SRS.

The department monitors compliance with the relevant legislation and can enforce it by issuing notices, revoking registration or prosecuting a proprietor.

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