Barbara Spriggs

Campaigner to prevent abuse of aged care patients

2018 SA Senior Australian of the Year

When she suspected her husband was being mistreated in a government-run mental health facility, Barbara Spriggs began to push for answers. Barb had no choice but to place Bob, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other complex and distressing illnesses, into care at the Oakden Older Person’s Mental Health Services facility. But after suspecting her husband was being physically and chemically restrained, Barb lifted the lid on a story of systematic abuse and neglect. Barb’s determination to seek answers and justice led to a formal inquiry, a damning report detailing a culture of cover up dating back 10 years, and an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry. Barb’s husband has since died, but her sustained efforts saw other patients transferred to a new facility with hand-picked staff offering high-quality care. Barb’s persistence at a time of great personal grief honours her beloved husband with a legacy of better care and respect for older people in aged care facilities around Australia.