Boarding house ‘Dickensian’: Coroner

A New South Wales coroner has slammed conditions in a Sydney boarding house where six people died, saying it amounted to what she called a ‘Dickensian picture’ of neglect.

Coroner Mary Jerram, called for an overhaul of the industry saying the six who died at the Marrickville boarding house in 2009 and 2010 were over-sedated, and under-nourished.

She found that on weekends the boarding house had only one unqualified staff member to deal with 35 residents, and there had been more than 20 complaints recorded in the two years prior to its closure.

Ms Jerram said doctors who attended the boarding house had also failed to follow up on serious medical conditions.

The Coroner’s report comes just after the NSW government promised a new package of reforms to protect boarding house residents, many of whom have a mental illness or an intellectual disability.

Lou Schetzer is a policy officer with Homeless Person’s Legal Service.

He told Peggy Giakoumelos, he welcomes the recommendations of both the corroner and the the state government.


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