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O'Dowd Shocked at Extent of Poor Management in Some Nursing and Care Homes

9 January, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd MLA said he is shocked and appalled by the extent of poor care and proper management in some Nursing and Care homes.

Mr O'Dowd's comments come following a written response to him following a series of questions put to Health Minister Michael McGimpsey by Mr O'Dowd about the work of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), the body tasked with ensuring the highest standards of care and well being are being provided to some of the most vulnerable people in our society who reside in Care and Nursing homes.

Mr O Dowd said:

"Since April 2005, Twenty one, establishments have been issued with 'Failure to Comply Notices' by the Regulatory Authority. The notices range from, the failure to properly manage medicines, failure to provide treatment to meet individual needs to some of the most serious in my view such as, failure to ensure a qualified nurse is working in a nursing home at all times, failure to report misconduct by staff against residents and the failure to 'ensure food and drink are provided in adequate quantitative at appropriate intervals, properly prepared and wholesome nutritious suitable for the needs of residents'.

Mr O Dowd continued,

"While these failings have been detected by the RQIA and the homes involved told of their failings and that is to be welcomed, in some instances I believe the sanctions handed down by the RQIA fail to reflect the magnitude of the failings of those owners and managers homes to care for the vulnerable in our society.

"To date not one single prosecution against any home or individual has been taken despite the provision in legislation for such action to be taken.

"If we are to ensure the safety of the vulnerable we must ensure that those tasked with their care are under no doubt that the full force of the law will be brought to bear if they fail in their duty. We must also demand that those who are tasked with policing the care sector such as the RQIA use the full portfolio of powers available to them to ensure people in care homes are fully protected.

Concluding Mr O Dowd said:

"I have again written to the Minister asking him if he is satisfied that no prosecution have taken place given the serious breaches and failings of care as outlined in his original response to me. I would also urge him to ask for an urgent review of all 'Failure to Comply Notices' issued to ensure all failures of care stipulated have been corrected and that proper care is now being administrated in all named premises." ENDS

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