Labor’s culture of cover-up

In the wake of documents leaked to the ABC showing senior health bureaucrats were warned early last year about well-established patterns of inappropriate care at the disgraced Oakden nursing home [1], the State Liberals have renewed their demand that Minister Vlahos and Minister Snelling open up their office records to a full independent forensic audit.

“We now know the Chief Executive of NALHN Jackie Hanson was informed of concerns relating to Oakden last year, yet the Chief Psychiatrist review was not initiated until just before Christmas,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

The latest revelation adds to a growing pattern of red flags over conditions at Oakden.

In 2015, in response to Tony Zappia’s letter, the Minister was briefed by Ms Hanson that staffing at the centre was adequate.

In 2015-16, the Principal Community Visitor was actively pursuing three complaints.

“Minister Vlahos has repeatedly blamed a culture of cover-up among staff at the unit for Oakden's broken ways, yet we now know that she and her bureaucrats have been alerted to concerns over at least the last two years ago,” said Mr Wade.

“The latest revelation raises the question: what other warnings are lurking buried in Minister Vlahos’ files?

“Similarly Minister Snelling has been almost completely silent about the scandal engulfing Oaken despite being the responsible Minister between January 2013 and January 2016.

“It is critical that the South Australian public understand exactly how much information was provided to both Ministerial offices and what action was taken regarding the information provided.

“Some of South Australia’s most vulnerable citizens have been shockingly let down by the system and we need to how this decade of neglect and abuse could have been possible.”