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Elderly residents at risk in public housing complex

Emergency services have been denied simple access to a public housing complex in Darlington reports Aaron Jones in the South Sydney Herald of November 2008.

Elderly residents in need of emergency services are unable to speak to paramedics upon their arrival as there is no intercom to communicate. Alan Chapman, one of the residents concerned, says that while the state of the housing is in a dreadful condition, the need for an intercom and easy emergency access is a high priority.

“The ambulance can’t get in, police can’t get in, security can’t get in,” he said. “There’s no intercom at all and it’s an inconvenience for all people. We have to go all the way downstairs to let people in.”

Mr Chapman said that phone calls are now being made to residents to ensure their safety and wellbeing since a resident’s death had been unknown for six weeks.

Diana Lambert, who is also a resident of the public housing estate, said that the need for an improved setup for emergency access is very important. “Amputees, stroke victims and the elderly are all being put here. It’s the wrong place for them because they don’t get the care they need,” she said. Residents must come downstairs themselves and physically open the door in order to allow visitors entry.

Mrs Lambert also said that the grounds are in a poor state and that something needs to be done immediately. “The grounds are so neglected and the lawn is just dust now,” she said. “Ninety per cent of people here are elderly, who are on high dosage medication and can’t hear emergency staff from the road.”

Mrs Lambert said that she will continue to petition local authorities in order to improve the current situation.

Both Mr Chapman and Mrs Lambert said that they are in communication with NSW Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt about the improvements needed at the public housing estate which, for so long, has been ignored.

Photo: Ali Blogg - Alan Chapman at the entry to the estate

Source: South Sydney Herald November 2008