19 Oct 2020

Blind boy left alone at bus terminal - Health and Disability Commission

5:00 pm on 19 October 2020

A disability care co-ordinator has been asked to apologise to a blind boy who was left unattended at a public bus terminal.

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(File image). Photo: 123RF

The Health and Disability Commission found the worker failed to arrange a support worker to meet the boy placing him in a potentially dangerous position.

In a report released today, deputy commissioner Rose Wall said the boy's service plan noted he was a falls risk and needed constant supervision.

A member of the public saw the boy and telephoned his mother for him after he left the terminal by himself.

Wall said the co-ordinator breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

An internal investigation by the disability service involved found the scheduled support worker had told the co-ordinator they couldn't attend. While the care co-ordinator had acted to book a relief support worker, she didn't tell the proposed worker or the boy's mother about the changes.

"While the care co-ordinator's error was administrative and unintentional, it was a fundamental aspect and requirement of her role, and resulted in the boy being placed in a vulnerable and potentially dangerous position," Wall said.

She recommended the worker provide the Commission with what she learnt from the incident, and write an apology to the boy and his mother.

The disability service was not found to have breached the Code. But Wall recommended the service show how it has improved its leave process, reduced the risk of human error and ensured that didn't happen again.