Friday, 12 April 2024
    Disability, 020620

    Left to die after payments cut

    The sister of a Sydney man who died alone at home after his NDIS support payments were cut off is demanding an inquiry to establish how he was allowed to fall through the cracks, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

    David Harris, 55, was living with a serious psychiatric condition that made it challenging to manage his diabetes, when he missed an annual review appointment with the National Disability Insurance Agency, and his payments were subsequently cut off.

    Last July, his sister Leanne Longfellow became concerned when she was not able to get in touch with David over the phone.

    She phoned NSW police, who found David’s body at his Parramatta home. He had died two months earlier.

    “No one thought to check,” she said. “My brother was very isolated and alone.”

    When she flew to Sydney after David’s death, Ms Longfellow said she had found his fridge empty.

    David had been receiving weekly visits from a registered nurse who administered injections to treat his schizophrenia, and also had an NDIS-funded cleaner and gardener, but these visits stopped when his funding was cut off.

    “The NDIS is a very fragmented manner of service delivery,” Ms Longfellow said.

    For those who lacked someone to advocate on their behalf, she said, it was too difficult to navigate the system.

    Living interstate with a daughter who also had significant disabilities, Ms Longfellow said she was not able to “be there to see what’s going on”.

    She contacted NDIS minister Stuart Robert after David’s death to ask for case managers to be introduced to the NDIS, but he wrote back saying the government had no plans to do so

    The NSW Coroner is reviewing the matter and is yet to decide whether to order an inquest.


    David Harris was left to die alone after his NDIS payments were cut off (Sydney Morning Herald)


    Ben Searcy/SMH