Health & Lifestyle

Assault Investigations Underway at Northgate

The culture at the disgraced Oakden nursing home in Adelaide appears to have been transferred to another facility, a victim’s family member has said, with police saying three assault investigations were underway.

The Oakden Aged Mental Health facility was closed and its last patients moved to the nearby Northgate aged care home in September after revelations of abuse and neglect dating back 10 years were revealed.

Now the State Government has confirmed an alleged assault at the Northgate facility involving a former Oakden staff member has been reported to SA Police.

The staff member was transferred to Northgate along with Oakden patients.

The Government said the staff member was allegedly using “restrictive practices” on a patient on December 2, which resulted in the person being investigated by clinical staff.

The alleged incident was referred to police and other authorities on December 8 and the staff member was stood down.

It has also emerged that a 63-year-old man was reported for aggravated assault in June over an incident in May, and another incident that happened in March, but neither were reported to police until August.

Stewart Johnston, whose mother was a resident at Oakden, said the fact an assault had been reported as recently as this month showed the problems had not gone away.

“We made it quite clear to the [State] Government when they closed down Oakden that it was more than just a building, that the culture was the issue and I think the revelations today indicate we were right,” Mr Johnston said.

“Another family member and another family is traumatised again at the abuse of a loved one and not only that, it’s certainly posed questions for the other remaining families at Northgate because of the lack of disclosure as to what actually happened.”

SA Police Minister Chris Picton said the Northgate facility was nothing like Oakden.

“The Northgate facility is a very different facility and has different leadership and different staff,” he said.

“I have seen the facility first hand and seen the Oakden facility first hand with the Health Minister [Peter Malinauskas] and they are absolutely very different facilities and the level of care being provided at the Northgate facility is substantially better than what was being provided at the Oakden facility.”

The sign outside the Oakden Aged Mental Health Care Service

But Opposition Health Spokesperson Stephen Wade said the latest revelations of alleged assault only came to light through media reports.

He accused the Government of returning to secrecy and cover ups.

“In the first six months of this year we were getting regular updates in both the Parliament and the public about investigations and reports to police,” he said.

“It was revealed in the media today that there have been two cases in the last six months of serious assaults, one where there was a five-month delay before it was reported to police.”

The Government said it could not release more details because of the ongoing police investigations.

Mr Picton said it was a positive step to see incidents being reported to police and investigated appropriately.

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