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O’Brien calls for clarification on staff vetting and physical restraints of children at Gleann Alainn

29 February, 2012 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Following the publication of a second HIQA report in to the Gleann Alainn Special Care Unit, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Jonathan O’Brien called on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to clarify a number of important matters contained in the report.

Deputy O’Brien said;

“While I welcome the publication of this HIQA report, and the fact that improvements have been made in some areas, it is quite clear that the Unit still falls short of the required standards for accommodating the children concerned.

Only one of the eight main recommendations from the original HIQA report has been met in full. The rest have either been partially met or not met at all.

“The original report required that a review of care files for each child living in the unit take place. This has not happened.

Furthermore, the recommendation that all staff are appropriately vetted, trained and supervised has not been met. There are outstanding reference checks for staff members which have not been completed.

This is a unit for children and such an approach to the hiring of staff should not be tolerated. I am calling on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Minister for Health to ensure that the HSE takes immediate action to rectify this situation.

“Furthermore, I have asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to clarify the number of children and the number of times that restraints have been used. On the 14th February, the Minister informed me in response to a parliamentary question that since the publication of the first HIQA report, no child had been confined to their bedroom and one child was restrained for a period of one minute. However, this report which concluded its fieldwork on 12th January, states that “since the last inspection….The information provided by the SCU showed that there had been three physical restraints in relation to three children and two further incidents where staff intervened with children in order to prevent a situation escalating.”

“We are dealing with children in the care system here and the HSE has a responsibility to ensure the highest standards of care are provided, but also that those who are providing the care to these children are accountable. Either the HIQA report is incorrect, or the information provided to HIQA was incorrect, and I hope the Minister will clarify this as a matter of urgency as well as commit to ensuring the HSE implements the outstanding recommendations.”

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