I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question about the Oakden nursing home.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have received an email from a constituent which is a transcript of an interview undertaken with an independent investigator who, I understand, was appointed by the North West Adelaide Health Service to look into this complaint. In this interview there are a number of serious allegations of nepotism and inappropriate behaviour in front of residents and relatives, in particular, acts of simulated sex, and this dates from 2006. My questions are:
1. Is the minister aware of such allegations in relation to staff and former staff of the Oakden nursing home?
2. What has the minister done about it?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Environment and Conservation, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Minister Assisting the Minister for Health) (14:21): I thank the honourable member for her question. The Oakden nursing home or, I should say, Makk and McLeay (part of the Oakden facility) has been under intense investigation for some time. I remind members that it is an accredited facility. It was accredited last in October 2007, which is only a number of months ago. Since then, complaints have been pursued by the commonwealth government and a number of standards have been found to be in deficit, as I have reported at great length in this chamber before.
There are 44 accreditation standards and there were 26 areas found to be in deficit. All of those areas have been documented, and details about each and every one of them are available. In response to that, as I have reported here before, a great deal of work has been done to address the problems that were identified by the commonwealth.
The management team was reviewed and a new management team was put in place which included a new and additional position of director of nursing, and also the additional position of nurse adviser. A very intensive and exhaustive action plan has been put in place that is working through each and every one of those areas where a problem has been identified. A significant amount of work has been done, and the staff are certainly to be commended for their intense efforts.
In relation to some of the areas identified as being noncompliant, some of them have been addressed in full and those risks completely mitigated. Work continues to be undertaken in respect of all others. This staff team is under intense scrutiny. A full review of audits was undertaken by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency at the end of February (26 to 28 February 2008), and the audit assessed compliance against all standards. In terms of any problems, the only ones that I am aware of are those that have been dealt with in relation to compliance with those standards. Considerable improvements have been achieved since the site audit in December 2007, at which time the agency advised of the 26 areas of noncompliance. Evidence of sustainability is a key requirement to achieving compliance.
So, full compliance with all the standards can be proved only after some time has elapsed due to the sustainability test, which assessors apply. However, I understand that considerable improvements have been made. As a result of the full audit, I am advised that assessors recommend that a further 10 standards are now being complied with. As I said, I am pleased to report that a great deal of work has been done.
I am also advised that the assessors report that a good foundation is being achieved against all the remaining standards, and I am further advised that, of the remaining standards, the main reason for noncompliance is that sustainability has still not been able to be proved, and it can only be proved with time. As I have reported here, the required improvement plan is well underway. A great deal of work has been done with respect to those problems. I am advised that the Director of Mental Health Operations has no knowledge of or information on the allegations in relation to simulated sex acts at Oakden. I can certainly say that I have been advised that there is no knowledge of those allegations.