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Lack of protection for elderly in care homes exposed‏

27 February, 2009


North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has criticized the Health Minister after he refused to meet Mr McKay and a constituent regarding the lack of protection for the elderly and vulnerable in care homes. Mr McKay said that the case he was dealing with was truly shocking, but what was even more disturbing was the fact that both children and even animals have more protection than the elderly.

Mr McKay said

"The case we have been dealing with is truly shocking. However what is even more disturbing is that there are numerous other cases of this nature and part of the reason for that is that there is nowhere near enough protection for the elderly and vulnerable people, especially those in care homes.

"Now the vast majority of residential and care homes do an excellent job but those who are found guilty of abuse need to be taken to task to protect the reputation of the sector. Neglect is itself a form of abuse and in some cases those on the receiving end are not able to speak out about it. Safeguards must be in place to minimise this abuse and they are simply not there.

"The process for dealing with complaints of abuse in care homes amazed me. When someone makes a complaint against a care home an investigation is carried out. Astoundingly however the investigation is carried out by the care home itself.

"When children or animals are neglected social services and the police have the power to move in right away. This is not the case however when it comes to vulnerable people and this loophole needs to be closed as a matter of urgency. I have already been contacted by members of the public who have had similar experiences and saw the news report on TV earlier this week. I've no doubt that there are many more examples like this one.

"The system undoubtedly needs a radical review and the onus is now on the Assembly to deliver legislative change which will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for many, many people.

"The Health Minister refused to meet with my constituent and myself in regard to this case. I hope that he will now reconsider. Sinn Féin in the meantime has put forward a motion on this dreadful situation to the Assembly and intends to pursue it until the loophole is closed." ENDS

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