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Consequences of inaction on mandatory reporting and adult safeguarding "laid bare" - David Cullinane TD

24 November, 2021 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the consequences of inaction on mandatory reporting and adult safeguarding are "laid bare" once again in the RTÉ Investigates revelations on Naas General Hospital abuse cases.

The Waterford TD has called on the Minister for Health and the Government to urgently advance Adult Safeguarding legislation and amendments to the Patient Safety Act, to:

  • Mandate reporting of suspected abuse,
  • Introduce safeguards to prevent abuse of adults in vulnerable situations,
  • And ensure accountability for organisations and management that fail in their statutory duty to protect patients.

Teachta Cullinane said:

"I am deeply troubled at the revelations in last night's RTÉ Investigates about the abuse cases at Naas General Hospital.

"The circumstances of this case need to be clarified, as do the actions of the hospital. 

"Serious questions need to be answered and action must be swiftly taken to ward against future abuse going unreported and to ensure accountability.

"The statements of one victim that the hospital has not communicated or apologised for these failures need to be addressed.

"Furthermore, we need to know what training had staff completed to support them to identify and report abuse?

"What resources has the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group given the hospital since the allegations arose to develop safeguarding knowledge? And why is it the only hospital without a principal social worker in the country? 

"From Leas Cross and Áras Attracta, to the Brandon case in Ard Greíne, and the ongoing investigation into the Grace case, we are unfortunately all too familiar with cases of abuse, neglect, and dereliction of duty in the health and social care system. This case yet again highlights the consequences of inaction.

"We urgently need mandatory reporting of suspected abuse across the health and social care system, adult safeguarding legislation, and serious accountability at an organisational level where there is harm or loss of life, or health of persons in care as a result of failure to ensure their protection.

"This can all be dealt with rapidly through long awaited amendments to the Patient Safety Act and the introduction of Adult Safeguarding legislation which was introduced by Independent Senator Colette Kelleher in the previous Seanad, which the Department has not cooperated with.

"We must deal with these systemic failures once and for all, and ensure that the systems and accountability mechanisms are in place to protect patients at risk of abuse."

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