There are new calls for an independent judicial inquiry into the disability care sector following claims about a death after an incident at a facility.
There are new calls for an independent judicial inquiry into the disability care sector following claims about a death after an incident at a facility.

Death in state care sparks call for inquiry

The Opposition is demanding a judicial inquiry into disability care following the death of a woman after an incident in a residential facility.

A whistleblower has triggered a departmental inquiry.

However, Opposition human services spokeswoman Nat Cook said a judicial inquiry was now needed, particularly after the tragic death of Ann Marie Smith while in care.

Debra Ann Pearce, 62 who had intellectual and mobility issues, suffered a broken leg at a state-run home in Pooraka on May 1.

Labor MP Nat Cook. Picture: AAP Image/Keryn Stevens
Labor MP Nat Cook. Picture: AAP Image/Keryn Stevens

She was taken to Lyell McEwin Hospital, where she died on May 9.

The whistleblower claims Ms Pearce was changed by a male night worker on his own, and suffered a broken leg when she was turned in her bed.

The person said: "I am very concerned for the safety and welfare of the four other clients who reside there."

The Department for Human Services has launched an investigation, but Ms Cook said there needed to be a judicial inquiry, "independently done, to ensure people living in all care circumstances in South Australia under the watch of this government are safe".

Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said there was no police investigation into the incident as there were no allegations of abuse or neglect.

"As per any fall or accident, an investigation is undertaken as per due process," she said.

Ms Pearce's family released a statement saying: "We are grateful for the care that our sister received. We have no concerns with staff at the home and do not want them to be blamed for her death."

Meanwhile, disability services providers have concerns about looming NDIS cuts.

David Moody, of National Disability Services, said from July 1 the ratio of supervisors to support workers would change from one supervisor to 11 support workers, to one to 15.

"It will impact on their ability to provide the high quality of services people are entitled to expect," he said.

Originally published as Death in state care sparks call for inquiry


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