Quakers Hill Nursing Home management’s response ‘lame and risky’ - Coroner

Findings from the Quakers Hill Nursing Home fire coronial inquest are damning of the nursing home’s employment and management of Roger Dean, who lit two fires which killed 11 residents in November 2011.


The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) said the Deputy State Coroner Magistrate Hugh Dillon described management’s response to the suspicion that Mr Dean had stolen a large amount of Schedule 8 drugs ‘lame and risky’ because they did not immediately suspend him from duties pending a police investigation.


Mr Dean was allowed to work another night shift, unsupervised and in charge of the care of 81 vulnerable residents despite being the chief suspect in the drug theft. He set the home alight later that night.


Magistrate Dillon made a series of recommendations, including establishing a record of health practitioners’ employment histories to prevent prospective employees misleading employers and that there be mandatory reporting of health practitioners who appear drug affected on the job.


“Nursing homes have a duty of care to keep residents safe. The utmost care must be taken when employing staff to make sure they’re suitable. Complaints about staff must also be taken seriously by management and not brushed aside”, said Charmaine Crowe, Senior Advisor, Research & Advocacy.


“CPSA supports Magistrate Dillon’s recommendations and calls on the NSW and Federal governments to act on them as a matter of urgency,” she said.