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HIQA report into Redwood facility shows that “present system cannot be trusted” – Ó Caoláin

11 December, 2014 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Following the revelations regarding Áras Attracta, the HSE-run facility in Swinford, Co Mayo, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has raised serious issues arising from a newly published HIQA report relating to restraint and the rights of those with intellectual disabilities in a facility in County Meath.

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

“The publication this morning of a HIQA report on inspections carried out at a centre for people with intellectual disabilities in County Meath confirms my fear that the present system cannot be trusted. The designated centre for people with disabilities is home to 30 residents. These inspections were announced. It must be remembered that HIQA previously gave Áras Attracta a clean bill of health which makes this all the more concerning. This centre, the Redwood Extended Care Facility at Stamullen, was requested to ensure that there were no new admissions to the centre until assurances are provided to the Authority that the areas of non-compliance have been sufficiently addressed.

“I am still processing in my mind some of the scenes from the Primetime program on Áras Attracta in Co. Mayo. My most pressing thought while watching was that abuse similar to this was going on in other institutions. This newly published report advises 772 recorded incidents of physical restraint within an 11 month period and found that there were “intensive physical interventions”, while a restraint reduction strategy was lacking.

“Recurrent and lengthy durations of physical interventions were also reported. In one incident it is reported that a patient had struggled to breathe and appeared cyanosed during physical restraint. The resident was not reviewed by a doctor until the following day. The medical note was reported to include ‘banged back of head’ and ‘staff concerned of struggle to breathe’. Further incidents of chemical restraint had not been notified to HIQA but it was established that medication had been administered by injection during episodes of challenging behaviour.

“I welcome the fact that the HSE has a meeting planned for chief executives of the service providers on Tuesday of next week but is that enough to ensure that the scenes of abuse, such as witnessed on our television screens, are not still taking place in centres across this state?

“I again ask An Taoiseach to answer the calls of the families of those residing in Áras Attracta and establish an independent inquiry. It is quite clear that the structures in place at present have failed entirely. The management of HSE-run facilities needs to be closely examined, but we also need to ensure that care provided in private facilities has residents at its centre and must always respect their rights and autonomy” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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