Someone remind me what century we are living in. And so much for living in a supposedly civilised, first world country. This kind of thing keeps happening again and again.
January 03, 2007 12:00am
NEW allegations have emerged of physical, verbal and emotional abuse in a government disability home.
Police are investigating a staff member at a Hobart respite home providing short-term care for people with extreme physical and intellectual disabilities.
Staff allege the man dragged disabled clients by their hair, hit them, told them to "f--- off" and called them names including "f---ing idiot".
They say he dragged a boy across concrete, skinning his knees badly.
Staff say terrified clients would cringe when he shouted obscenities or threatened them.
He is accused of humiliating clients and taunting them.
Last year nine government disability group homes were closed because of serious systemic problems.
In the homes, maggots infested a young brain-injured man's feeding tube and a quadriplegic man's broken leg was not noticed for several days.
Disabled men on a trip were photographed in tourist stocks with a "lunatic" sign.
At the time, then Health Minister David Llewellyn apologised to families and said the standard of care had not been good enough.
Staff at the Hobart respite home at the centre of the latest allegations made their complaints about four months ago and have become frustrated at what they say is the Government's lack of action.
The Health and Human Services Department hired a private investigator to examine the allegations and received his report last month.
Staff believe they have been victimised for blowing the whistle and it is understood they have complained about losing shifts and receiving no support from management.
They have all taken stress leave.
The supervisor has been switched to another government facility.
Disability Services manager Graeme Foale confirmed the allegations had been referred to the police.
"Staff and clients will be advised when the investigation has been completed," he said.
Opposition health spokesman Brett Whiteley said the matter raised questions of process in the Health Department.
He said everyone had the right to be considered blameless in any matter, until an investigation proved otherwise.
"However, the appropriate process must be in place to deal with people expeditiously in cases such as this," he said.
"And importantly the process must not give rise to further concerns.
"It appears concerns have been raised with the process and timing in this matter.
"The minister, Ms Giddings, has the opportunity to calm the concerns of staff close to the matter and I urge her to do that."