In the Media

SA Health needs to improve its process of carrying out background checks

South Australia’s Dignity Party says SA Health needs to improve its process of carrying out background checks on employees following revelations about the Oakden nursing home in Adelaide’s north east. The Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service is being shut down after a review of the facility prompted by allegations of mistreatment. The indecent assault of a 99-year-old dementia patient by a male carer is the latest case to come to light. Court documents show the man had a history of mental health issues. SA Health says its aged care staff don’t undergo some checks required of child protection workers, including psychological testing. Dignity Party MP, Kelly Vincent says that’s not good enough:

“It’s reasonable to expect any employer to have the appropriate screening in place for people that they’re looking to employ but I think when it’s Government and when we’re talking about people that are particularly susceptible to the kind of abuse, neglect and lack of care that we have unfortunately seen at Oakden, it’s not just reasonable to expect it, it’s absolutely necessary.”

Meantime, pressure is growing for Mental Health Minister Leesa Vlahos to either resign or be sacked over her handling of abuse at the Oakden aged care facility.

Political Commentator, Haydon Manning has told Leon Byner it’s put the Premier in a difficult position:

“It’s not in the realm of corruption, it’s really in the realm of incompetence and there it is the judgement of the Premier with regard to how much political damage this Minister has done the Government. I guess the real question is when the Premier returns on the weekend what he’ll have to say to the South Australian public and then to the parliament in terms of his judgement.”

“The centre’s been closed so that’s probably the first important step. It’s then reassuring people of the mechanisms that are in place to ensure all facilities of this type are run appropriately and then it’s his judgement obviously whether he thinks Leesa Vlahos should be either demoted or removed from Cabinet and somebody else put in.”

State Opposition is demanding an independent forensic audit to locate any ministerial correspondence about problems at the condemned Oakden nursing home.

Opposition’s Stephen Wade says an independent audit is needed to uncover any other correspondence:

“For a decade they managed to run a system with chronic abuse at Oakden. The public has a right to know, what did management know, what did the ministers know.”