Your views: on Ann Marie Smith’s care, border control and city WiFi

Today, readers questions NDIS-funded disability care checks and quality, COVID-19 interstate travel exemptions, and improving city digital services.

May 28, 2020, updated May 31, 2020
Ann-Marie Smith. Image supplied by SA Police

Ann-Marie Smith. Image supplied by SA Police

Commenting on the story: Single carer for Ann-Marie Smith should have raised “huge red flags”

As the parent of a child with cerebral palsy, poor Ann-Marie’s story fills my heart with fear.

At the end of the day, Integrity Care SA rostered only one person to care for a complex client. 

Throughout my child’s 10 years I have fought every day for his right to access education, NDIS supports and live a life of quality and joy, rights his non-disabled peers will probably grow up to take for granted.

I fear the day I’m not here to fight these battles, and I hope to God his future is never left in the hands of a bunch of useless, finger-pointing buffoons.

Ann-Marie deserved so much more. Until our government starts treating people with disabilities as equals and valued we will hear more of these horrific stories.

I wish we wouldn’t, but being disabled without someone to protect you is a very dangerous place to be. – Name supplied

I am a parent of an adult child with a profound disability.

My daughter lives in supported accommodation and the care is substandard – and that’s being generous.

I’m constantly asking questions and checking in on my daughters wellbeing. Not only do staff lie (I have personally caught them), the organisation cover it up.

They had employed a person in a senior role of house manager who was stealing clients’ money and claiming she worked hours that she hadn’t. Again, the organisation covered it all up. The worker has since been dismissed but there has been no communication from the organisation as to the findings of the criminal behaviour. Nothing.

Another time I caught a support worker calling my daughter ‘a stupid girl’. This worker was transferred to another site (only because I lodged a formal complaint). When I voiced concerns that another vulnerable person might be exposed to the same treatment I got no response.

There are so many more stories of inept paid care I could tell but I’d be typing for two days.

This is happening to my daughter even though I’m involved in her care daily. I can only imagine what it would be like when I’m no longer able to be involved.

These thoughts keep parents like myself up most nights. The system is a total failure. Under the NDIS, people with disabilities are viewed as cash cows.

It’s all about the profits and not about the quality of care. It’s disgusting. As a nation we should all be utterly ashamed. – Name supplied

Forget the blame shifting. Isn’t anybody shocked to hear Ann-Marie Smith’s fully-funded NDIS package gave her only 4 hours of support per day?

Here is a mobility impaired person, with other problems, who has to support herself for 20 hours a day – what a joke. Who assessed her needs?

She would have been better looked after in prison.

The system is to blame. There are multiple levels of profit-taking from the Government tit.

I’ve recently become engaged with the Aged Care system (exactly the same model). My wife was offered a level 2 care package and all the service providers promised the world, but took 25 -33% of the funding to “manage” the package.

So my wife for a government grant of $35000 per annum would get 4 hours per week of support.

The Federal Government has designed a system to make millionaires at the expense of the disabled and the aged. Remember the same model was used for childcare ,which has now become too expensive for many low-income earners.

For all the baloney about consumer choice, the one option the Government won’t allow is to give the money directly to the person who needs it.

We could have lots more services if all the “rent seeking” activities were stripped away. John Clayton

This heartbreaking case shows up failings from the highest to the lowest level.

Why are there no requirements for regular checks?

How can one carer be allowed to do her work for all these years with no one checking her work?

Why are the Care providers allowed to work and getting paid without proof that the work is carried out satisfactory?

On the other hand, do we know if the carer requested help but did not get it.

The mind simply boggles.

We do not need investigation boards et al, what we do need is common sense and strict reporting rules coupled with supervision. Hermann Weber

I’m not sure why there hasn’t been a question about how Integrity Care was accredited to provide support services.

This is usually through an audit and poor controls such as those that appear to have contributed to the death of Ann-Marie Smith should have been picked up.

Have they been audited and, if so, why was this not identified as a non compliance? Or is there a report somewhere that has identified non-compliance with standards?  – Andrea Sainsbury

Commenting on the story: Border farce: Marshall backs process after new COVID-19 case

The Premier is right – the system worked.

It is inevitable that sometimes a person suffering from an illness will not be detected. In this case, the incoming checks picked it up.

Not a ‘farce’, not a sensation – in fact, a good-news story. – Stephen White

The Premier has a nerve essentially suggesting it’s OK to risk the health, lifestyles, and lives of plane passengers so someone can visit a dying relative.

By all means grant someone an exemption to come here if such is warranted, but they would need to find a way to get here that does not place others at risk. – Catherine Birch

I must say I find it hard to justify allowing a traveller to come and see her dying relative whilst it is my understanding that on a few occasions it hasn’t been possible for local partners to see their dying relatives.

If it was good enough for the Riverland woman to have to say goodbye to her husband via Skype, then the same should have applied here.

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This is a clear mess-up and really to hide behind the fact that this isn’t the first such case and we are compassionate isn’t good enough.

She was allowed to be put on a plane in relatively confined spaces and put other passengers at risk.

Should not have happened and she didn’t even load COVIDSafe – what a total mess on behalf of this government.

Everyone getting compassionate entry should have been required to agree to loading COVIDSafe onto their phones and agreeing to the release of that material even if they had another notifiable disease.

Quarantine means exactly that, and to allow anyone from overseas to travel here isn’t fair to any of those that have been exposed.

I never anticipated that what I was doing and that all of the hard work South Australians were doing would be allowed to be put at risk like this.

Someone needs to take responsibility and not try to explain everything away – it seems that Mr Marshall always has an answer to justify but never takes responsibility for anything that doesn’t work out. Joe Wolfson

The difficulty here is the lack of quantitative corroborating data attached to the case:

  • Was the woman (or, all international arrivals – in this case, to Victoria) tested upon arrival?
  • Was she again tested prior to departure from Victoria knowing turnaround is 24hrs or less?
  • If so, why not?

SA’s record speaks for itself. While our citizens rightly protest the hypocrisy of, for example, train over-crowding, it has not lead to a single case in the last fortnight.

It could be quite simple to carefully open the borders based on pre-travel testing requirements; say, one week then one day prior to departure (all passengers subject to the same requirements) and everyone having COVID-Safe app installed and active.

What would then be required would be that Federal and State governments agree on the methodology of sharing the COVID-Safe data as and when necessary.

Otherwise, the app remains an isolated and useless lame duck. – Rob Nachum

I totally agree with the exemption – we are Australian and we have compassion. How would you feel if you could not go to a loved one if they were critically ill?

With measures in place (that worked), that recognised the danger, isolated the threat, and identified and nullified the potential expansion, the future looks promising.

We will have more outbreaks before the threat of Covid-19 is over, and it was good to see that we have procedures in place that will reduce the consequences of such, when required. – Garry Shearing

Commenting on the story: City council moves to roll our next generation Adelaide Free WiFi

Meanwhile, ratepayers (small businesses and residents)  who are subsidising the Free Adelaide Wifi network can not get access to 10 Gigabit Adelaide or even fibre to the node.

Rather than relying on slow infrastructures like fibre to the kerb or old copper wiring, I think that ratepayers should also be able to access the 10 Gigabit infrastructure for their home or small business.

Line of sight technologies are available, but unavailable if a new development suddenly blocks your signal. Your options are limited.

The upgrade is a worthwhile project, but opening up 10Gigabit Adelaide to all ratepayers would benefit everyone in the CBD and place it a little closer to being a ‘Smart’ city. Phil De Bondi

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