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Sinn Féin call for Review of Residential Home Regulator

10 March, 2009

9 March, 2009

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has called on the Health Minister to review whether the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) are doing their job effectively.

The RQIA regulate residential care homes in the north. Mr McKay has said that not enough is being done to protect the rights of the elderly in care homes and was speaking after Sinn Féin submitted a motion to the Assembly calling on the Health Minister to review the powers available to the RQA and questioning whether the RQIA was using these powers effectively.

Mr McKay said:

"I have serious concerns about how the RQIA uses the limited powers available to them. The RQIA have powers to prosecute where failing have been found, however, in my opinion, they have yet to use these powers effectively.

"There doesn't appear to be any emergency protection for the elderly and vulnerable adults where neglect or abuse has been alleged and I am requesting that when the Commissioner for Older People is established, they should have the legal powers to intervene and investigate where the existing regulatory bodies have failed to investigate properly.

"I have requested a meeting with the Health Minister to raise the issue of lack of emergency legislation to protect the most vulnerable in our society. It is not acceptable that in this day in age, the elderly can potentially be abused or neglected without adequate legislation, policies and procedures there to protect them." ENDS

Mr McKay can be contacted at 07761942138.

Note to Editors

The motion submitted by Sinn Féin is as follows:

Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority

That this Assembly calls on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to review the powers available to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA); and asks if the RQIA is using these powers effectively.

[Mr D McKay]

[Mrs M O'Neill]

[Mr J O'Dowd]

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