Centre of empty promises
A LACK of heating, hot water and privacy are issues a former Shenton Park Quadriplegic Centre resident had to face while living at the facility.
Samantha Jenkinson, who is now the executive director of People with Disabilities WA, said the issues had been going on for more than a decade.
The centre was in the spotlight last week after it was revealed the hot water system had been broken for several days.
Ms Jenkinson said the nature and environment of the facility was very “institutionalised”.
“We have had complaints about people’s privacy and choice being restricted due to the nature of the building,” she said.
“We believe there are a number of issues, some with the physical building itself and the fact that it is getting very run down… we are concerned that there are immediate issues that need to be addressed to ensure the safety of the people living at the quadriplegic centre.”
Last week’s 2016-17 State Budget allocated $500,000 towards a plan for the centre’s redevelopment.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the State Government needed to do more.
“Setting up another committee to look at the issue is just not good enough,” he said.
A current resident who did not want to be named said the Government was willing to allocate $18 million to the Scarborough foreshore in the Budget but not fix the problems at the centre.
He said the loss of hot water was an ongoing issue, as well as power outages throughout summer.
“Any decent person would think human beings should take priority over an area that is already beautiful,” he said.
“They are always promising the problem will be fixed tomorrow, but we are having the issues today.
“We are seen as a problem, as nonhuman to the Health Department, rather than human beings.”
Shenton Park Quadriplegic Centre chief executive Shane Yensch said he had concerns about the building and hoped the committee would come up with a plan to fix the problems. Health Minister John Day said he expected an update from the committee by the end of the year, with recommendations that would help drive the establishment of a new centre.
Ms Jenkinson said another issue was that people with spinal cord injuries were being sent to nursing homes, rather than getting the support to live in their own homes.
She said the facility was not a contemporary model of disability support and was isolating residents from their family and friends.
I cannot imagine the pain of being in an accident and no longer being able to walk, make myself dinner or do all the things an able-bodied person takes for granted. So imagine how hard it is already for someone to physically and mentally deal with becoming a quadriplegic, and then add to that pain by living in a dilapidated building with little privacy or comfort. This is the life residents at Shenton Park Quadriplegic Centre deal with on a day-today basis, so why isn’t our State Government doing something about it? The Government allocated $500,000 for the centre in last week’s State Budget. It also allocated $18 million in that same Budget to the redevelopment of the Scarborough foreshore, bringing the total amount of funding to $48 million. This is a serious issue and one that cannot be taken lightly by our government hot water, privacy and basic health care is something everyone deserves. We need to be putting funding into supporting those who need it, not to pay for a new statue or playground for the foreshore.