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Gildernew slams Dunmurry ‘snub’

28 June, 2018 - by Colm Gildernew

Sinn Féin Carers Spokesperson Colm Gildernew MLA has hit out at the Head of the Health Department for failing to respond to a request for urgent talks over the Dunmurry Care Home scandal.

The Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA revealed he has yet to receive a response from Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly, two weeks after seeking an urgent meeting to discuss a damning report into the standard of care at the facility.

Colm Gildernew said: “I wrote to the Permanent Secretary on 15 June, shortly after the publication of the report by the Older People’s Commissioner which exposed serious failings at Dunmurry Care Home.

“Such were the gravity of the report’s findings and the criticism of various health authorities that I sought an urgent meeting to discuss what steps were being taken to ensure there would be no repeat.

“To date I have received no indication as to when this meeting will take place. This is despite several phone calls to Mr Pengelly’s office throughout the course of the last week.

“I find it unacceptable that the lead official in the Department of Health seems intent on snubbing political representatives who are seeking clarity and assurances regarding the safety and care of the public.

“This simply isn’t good enough. We have seen a similar approach with regard to the Neurology patient recall where political representatives were kept out of the process to draft the Inquiry Terms of Reference.

“Public representatives have an important role to play in terms of representing families, holding authorities to account and ensuring the best standards of public safety within health facilities. Unelected Civil Service officials – no matter how senior -  have no right to exclude them from the process.”

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