Confidential recipient and new audit team welcome but ‘we need more detail’ - Ó Caoláin
Deputy Ó Caoláin has broadly welcomed the announcement that Leigh Gath is to be appointed as confidential recipient for whistle-blowers, staff and residents, relating to issues and allegations of abuse and substandard care in HSE services for people with disabilities. He has raised questions about an ‘audit team’ that has also been announced.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“I welcome the appointment of Leigh Gath as the Confidential Recipient for whistle-blowers relating to these HSE-funded services. She has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of those with disabilities in the past and I am sure she will continue with this important work. However, I must ask, who is the confidential recipient to report to? Is it to the Gardaí, the HSE, HIQA or the newly announced ‘audit team’? We need more detail.
“Sinn Féin still holds the view that we need a root and branch review of the care system for the intellectually challenged. We believe that the address of staffing must start with management. Oversight, with empathy and compassion, across the board, must be guaranteed.
“Minister of State Lynch has announced that an audit team will be created and that it “will go to every centre and audit the service.” If this is to be the case, it will need considerable resources to ensure that it is able to visit the more than 900 sites across the country, even once. And I would expect that repeat visits in some cases will be necessary.
“What specific and distinct role will this team have? If HIQA have been unable to expose let alone root out practices exposed in last week’s Prime Time programme, how is it proposed that this new team will? Will undercover investigations form part of their approach? Again, we need more detail” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.