The aged care royal commission will this week begin to map out a complete system overhaul.

Commissioners have argued that the federal government's current aged care reforms put too much faith in market forces and consumer choice.

Expert panels will be quizzed over several days about proposed designs for a new aged care system, to inform the final report by commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs.

Interim reports from the commission show a failing aged care system that needs fundamental reform and redesign, not just a patch-up.

The commissioners say the Australian government needs to do more to create a system that delivers better outcomes for older people.

They may face some opposition from the political class, with allegations that massive political donations are protecting the aged care licence of at least one major provider.

In a recent consultation paper, they said changes being made by the Australian government are adding complexity to an already complex system.

“The direction of current reforms puts too much faith in market forces and consumer choice as the primary driver of improvement in the aged care system,” it said.

“... Market forces have an important role to play but are not delivering equitable outcomes in all parts of the country or for all groups.”

The Federal Government formed the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission last year in response to a review of disturbing failures at South Australia’s Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.

Combined Pensioner and Superannuation Association (CPSA) policy coordinator Paul Versteege, labelled the new reforms as purely a ‘cosmetic makeover’.

“The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission ... will not change what happens in nursing homes and will not change the quality of care provided, because aged care standards are left untouched,” he said.

“I have lost count how many times the agencies responsible for auditing nursing homes and complaints have been changed with much fanfare and claims that aged care in Australia will improve immeasurably.

“Anyone claiming that the vast majority of nursing homes are providing adequate care is living in a bubble.”