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The case of Karyn Costello

By 22 April 2009 50

Steve Dozspot is raising a hue and cry over the case of Karyn Costello who has, apparently, been living in hospital for two years because her disabilities have on into the “too hard basket”.

    “Ms Costello has been confined to a wheelchair, forced to wait since 2007 in Canberra Hospital for a Disability ACT Individual Support Package (ISP), which would enable her to live at home.

    “Karyn’s needs were last assessed for an ISP in June 2008 and her requirements were then categorised as being at the highest level.

    “Since the assessment last year, her condition has improved and Karyn has now regained minimal use of her arms and hands.

    “Despite this improvement, which would significantly reduce the assistance required, it appears the Government is still under the assumption that Karyn’s case is too complicated and costly to address.

    “I have last written to the Minister for Disability on the 7th April asking for an urgent new assessment of Ms Costello. To date, I have not received any response from the Government on when Ms Costello’s reassessment will take place and no indication of a timeline to resolve this case.

The lesson here might be to approach a Government MLA first if one has a problem?

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50 Responses to The case of Karyn Costello
#1
housebound10:14 am, 22 Apr 09

Usually by the time something has been escalated to this point, the Government MLAs have shown their (un)willingness to act and one approaches the crossbenches/opposition out of desperation.

#2
Mr Evil10:34 am, 22 Apr 09

Problem easily solved – let’s spend some more money on public art.

#3
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_11:21 am, 22 Apr 09

Stick in some extra speed cameras. Those cheeky buggers in wheelchairs fairly fly down some of our footpaths!

#4
Muttsybignuts11:38 am, 22 Apr 09

How much would it be costing to support this lady in hospital? A fair bit I imagine.

#5
Granny3:08 pm, 22 Apr 09

I think you will find it is costing just as much to keep Ms Costello in hospital as it would cost to support her with proper dignity in suitable living conditions.

But that’s hardly the point.

Hospitals are designed for those who need medical care, not as housing solutions.

Nobody would want to be stuck in hospital once they are well enough to be discharged.

I really don’t think this is good enough.

#6
p13:15 pm, 22 Apr 09

How much would it be costing to support this lady in hospital? A fair bit I imagine.

Comes out of a different budget though.

#7
BerraBoy683:40 pm, 22 Apr 09

Steve Doszpot has apparently been visiting Ms Costello for a few weeks now, offering suport and trying to get the Minster to act on her behalf. You’d have thought the Minister would have done so by now. It’s not as if she couldn’t have been aware of the issue.

At a time when Ms Gallagher could do with some positive press, she needs to come though on this. At present, her best simply isn’t good enough!

#8
s-s-a3:59 pm, 22 Apr 09

I think you will find it is costing just as much to keep Ms Costello in hospital as it would cost to support her with proper dignity in suitable living conditions.

Unlikely.

I shouldn’t be up to the Minister to act, there should be a system in place that allows people in these situations to access the support they need. Unfortunately it’s not until you get yourself into a situation like this that you realise how woefully inadequate the system is.

Just because someone is proved to be in need of an ISP doesn’t mean one will materialise.

Letting people languish in hospital happens OFTEN, ALL over Australia.

#9
Granny4:12 pm, 22 Apr 09

So obviously we should just leave them to rot.

#10
willo4:19 pm, 22 Apr 09

Granny said :

So obviously we should just leave them to rot.

obviously not granny…..something needs to be done quickly…..this individual case is absolutely appalling……even more appalling is that this case is by no means isolated or unique…..

#11
BerraBoy684:20 pm, 22 Apr 09

In addition to my comment @ #7, I probably didn’t make it clear in response to JB’s comment on the OP (i.e. “The lesson here might be to approach a Government MLA first if one has a problem?”)… that by all accounts Ms Costello’s advocate(s) did approach the Gov’t first but recieved no Action. Good on Steve Doszpot for addressing the issue, Ms Costelle at least has someone championing her casuse. I was also incorrect in blaming Ms Gallagher for the inaction as Hargravesis Disabilities Minister.

C’mon Hargraves, where’s Ms Costellos’ assessment? If it’s too costly, can we at least look at selling Grasby’s statue to raise the money for it?

#12
BerraBoy684:23 pm, 22 Apr 09

and sorry for may appalling grammer and spelling. Angry… very angry….

#13
Furry Jesus4:23 pm, 22 Apr 09

Al least when the purchase of Calvary goes through people with disabilities will have a choice around which side of Canberra they’re inappropriately hospitalised on.

Having said that, I’m not much in favour of individual appeals to Ministers via the Opposition as a rule. There’s already a number of people who aren’t qualifying for the limited resources in the disability sector, and success with mobilising political influence can easily create an unhelpful precedent for queue-jumping. Karyn Costello sounds like a deserving person, but we don’t know who else needs similar help, let alone how much it would cost.

#14
Granny4:36 pm, 22 Apr 09

On 18 July 2008 Australia joined 29 other countries in ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Ratifying the Convention clearly demonstrates the Rudd Government’s international commitment to ensuring people with disability are treated equally and not as second-class citizens,” Attorney-General Robert McClelland said.

Joint Media Release: Australia Ratifies UN Disabilities Convention

More than one fifth of Australians are estimated to have some kind of disability and this is expected to increase with the ageing of the population.

“As we get older, more and more of us will have reason to hope that our society really does put universal access and inclusion for people with disability into practice – whether it is a matter of being able to fully use and access housing, public transport and buildings or just basic consumer appliances,” Mr Innes said.

HREOC Media Release: A great day for Australians with disability, but there is still much to achieve

The Convention marks a “paradigm shift” in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=12&pid=150

#15
Hells_Bells744:48 pm, 22 Apr 09

Sounds great Granny.

The only problem is they have enough trouble recognising basic human rights in general sometimes.

But they will be a force worth reckoning with.

Long overdue.

#16
Granny4:51 pm, 22 Apr 09

Yes.

: )

#17
BerraBoy685:43 pm, 22 Apr 09

Furry Jesus said :

I’m not much in favour of individual appeals to Ministers via the Opposition as a rule…. and success with mobilising political influence can easily create an unhelpful precedent for queue-jumping.

As stated FJ, Ms Costello did approach the Gov’t first. Nothing was done. When the Gov’t fails to act the opposition (in this case both Lib’s and Greens) have a responsibility to hold them to account. If they didn’t do that then not only would they would be failing in their primary role, the person involved would have no avenue to redress of their situation other than throwing themselves on the mercy of the court of public opinion (i.e. the media). I’m not sure a women who has waited for Government action to get her out of hospital and into her own home for 2 years can be described as ‘quie jumping,. Especially noting not all people have the same issues and some issues naturally take longer than others to address.

@ Granny – a good start, now lets make it a reality in the ACT!

#18
Granny5:57 pm, 22 Apr 09

I have been told that ratifying a UN treaty is basically signing up to international law, although I am willing to be corrected.

Australia is a signatory to international law stating that a person with a disability is entitled to suitable housing. It would appear that the ACT Government is in breach of international law in this regard.

If the government decided tomorrow that sewerage and roads would be nice to have but were not a necessity, people would be outraged that basic needs were not being met.

The Australian Government has rightly supported the human rights of the one in five Australians with some kind of disability to the support they need to live in equality with the rest of society.

I would expect any ACT government to fulfil their legal and moral obligations in this regard.

#19
BerraBoy685:59 pm, 22 Apr 09

Granny said :

I have been told that ratifying a UN treaty is basically signing up to international law, although I am willing to be corrected.

Australia is a signatory to international law stating that a person with a disability is entitled to suitable housing. It would appear that the ACT Government is in breach of international law in this regard.

If the government decided tomorrow that sewerage and roads would be nice to have but were not a necessity, people would be outraged that basic needs were not being met.

The Australian Government has rightly supported the human rights of the one in five Australians with some kind of disability to the support they need to live in equality with the rest of society.

I would expect any ACT government to fulfil their legal and moral obligations in this regard.

Good and interesting points, Granny!

#20
johnboy6:01 pm, 22 Apr 09

Pretty much entirely wrong on treaties granny.

It remains to the pleasure of the commonwealth parliament to actually enact laws to bring the treaty provisions into force.

No laws, no local effect of the treaty.

Our co-signatories could do something to try and make us get a move on (sanctions, boycotts, embargos etc), but mostly they don’t care either.

#21
BerraBoy686:09 pm, 22 Apr 09

johnboy said :

Pretty much entirely wrong on treaties granny.

It remains to the pleasure of the commonwealth parliament to actually enact laws to bring the treaty provisions into force.

No laws, no local effect of the treaty.

Our co-signatories could do something to try and make us get a move on (sanctions, boycotts, embargos etc), but mostly they don’t care either.

Which is why locals need to get the Gov’t to back up their words with actions. But that could never actually happen, could it?

#22
Granny6:15 pm, 22 Apr 09

Well, I am happy to stand corrected, Johnboy.

#23
Mr Evil6:59 pm, 22 Apr 09

Granny said :

On 18 July 2008 Australia joined 29 other countries in ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Yes, but anyone can sign a meaningless piece of paper, and have no real intention of doing anything to solve the problem.

It’s almost as meaningless as saying sorry………..

I’m sure Katy has her reasons for not dealing with this issue; probably had an important luncheon to attend, or went for a quick walk around the lake with her mates.

#24
Thumper7:10 pm, 22 Apr 09

From memory Katie managed to palm this one off as a QLD or a Commonwealth responsibility.

However, I may be wrong…

#25
BerraBoy687:52 pm, 22 Apr 09

Thumper said :

From memory Katie managed to palm this one off as a QLD or a Commonwealth responsibility.

However, I may be wrong…

I had it confirmed to me today, from an impeccable source, that the issues relating to Ms Costello’s current situation do not fall under Katie Gallagher’s area of responsibility. Rather, the issue actually comes under Mr Hargreaves as Minister for Disabilities. So while Katie may wax lyrical, or not as the case may be, in relation to Ms Costello, Mr Hargreaves is the single point of failure here. Again Mr Hargreaves you need to spend more time getting to grips with issues concerning your portfolio.

You are there to help people that fall under your Ministerial responsibility, not ignore them. You are failing our community and the opposition, and in this case Mr Doszpot, are doing your job for you, yet again. No re-election for you….

#26
Thumper7:56 pm, 22 Apr 09

Ah, there it is. Thanks Berra…

I stand corrected.

#27
BerraBoy687:57 pm, 22 Apr 09

Thumper said :

Ah, there it is. Thanks Berra…

I stand corrected.

Please sit down. At your age you need to rest your legs…

#28
BeyondThought9:25 pm, 22 Apr 09

Nice to see our photocopy salesman comment on something other than soccer.

#29
s-s-a9:53 pm, 22 Apr 09

I’m not sure a women who has waited for Government action to get her out of hospital and into her own home for 2 years can be described as ‘quie jumping

Quite simply it is. Squeaky wheels get oiled. Especially in this sector and this situation.

Nothing has changed as the result of the Gallop Report or signing the UN convention. All the good intentions and platitudes from politicians will not substitute for woefully inadequate levels of funding. Getting indignant about it is not about to make a big impact on the State or federal budgets. For years, Ministers of both political persuasions have been telling me there are no votes in disability.

Anybody who thinks that we have a wonderful system that enables people with disabilities to be adequately supported with anything like an appropriate lifestyle compared to their non-disabled peers has obviously never had anything to do with the system.

Ms Costello’s situation – while horrible – is not much different to many others playing out around this town right now.

#30
willo10:24 pm, 22 Apr 09

it also doesnt help that all gov disability agencies nationwide are very topheavy with much more admin than carers/health professionals in their employ

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