Tony Jenkins died in April, and his family questions who's being held accountable

Memories: Sharon Jenkins with daughters Cidney and Kim at Fingal Bay on Monday on what should have been Tony Jenkins' 55th birthday.
Memories: Sharon Jenkins with daughters Cidney and Kim at Fingal Bay on Monday on what should have been Tony Jenkins' 55th birthday.

SHARON Jenkins and daughters Cidney and Kim spent Monday at Fingal Bay to mark the day paramedic Tony Jenkins should have turned 55.

They visited the caravan park where Mr Jenkins spent many happy holidays as a child, and where he took his wife and daughters for many years.

And they asked whether anyone in NSW Ambulance was being held accountable for his suicide on April 9, about two hours after he was dropped off, alone, by a senior NSW Ambulance officer following a meeting about his alleged use of the opioid Fentanyl taken from Hunter ambulance stations.

“I woke up at 5 this morning and I felt rotten because it’s Tony’s birthday and he’s not here,” said Mrs Jenkins.

Suicide: Tony Jenkins before his death in April.

Suicide: Tony Jenkins before his death in April.

“NSW Ambulance has given an apology and said people fell through the cracks, and Tony did, but the people who were involved with events on that day, their lives have gone on uninterrupted, as if nothing has happened. An apology is all very well, but what’s needed is some sign that people are going to be held accountable.

“It just seems outrageous that we have two separate investigations but noone’s been suspended. Noone’s been asked to stand aside.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and NSW Ambulance did not respond to questions about any action taken after Mr Jenkins was called to an unannounced meeting with senior staff part way through a shift and without support, and after he was dropped off near his car four hours before his shift should have ended. He bought items to commit suicide from a Bunnings store and died not far from his home.

His family was told the meeting was called to discuss his alleged use of Fentanyl.

Happy: Tony Jenkins, wife Sharon and daughters Cidney and Kim during happier times.

Happy: Tony Jenkins, wife Sharon and daughters Cidney and Kim during happier times.

On June 25 NSW Ambulance chief Dominic Morgan issued an unprecedented apology to paramedics in which he acknowledged “completely failing” some employees. The apology occurred only weeks after a meeting between Mrs Jenkins, Mr Hazzard and Mr Morgan in which she said her family would not stop campaigning until the service’s bullying and neglectful culture changed.

In a statement Mr Hazzard’s office said the minister asked NSW Chief Psychiatrist Murray Wright to join the investigation into Tony Jenkin’s death. Mr Hazzard directed that NSW Ambulance and NSW Health “ensure the family of Mr Jenkins is kept up-to-date with the progress of this inquiry”.

A spokesperson said NSW Ambulance extended its condolences to Mr Jenkins’ family.

“NSW Ambulance has launched an investigation and is cooperating with ongoing coronial and SafeWork NSW investigations. We will continue to do everything we can to support the Jenkins family and our workforce during this difficult time,” the spokesperson said.

“Our priority is the safety of our employees and the NSW Government is investing $48 million to improve health and wellbeing, including mental health, of NSW Ambulance staff.”

Mrs Jenkins said the family would continue to push for a public coronial inquiry.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

This story Saddest of birthdays: paramedic’s family returns to holiday spot first appeared on Newcastle Herald.