Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Limavady care staff suspended over patient abuse allegations

Rush Hall Care Home in Limavady, picture courtesy of Google Street View.

Two members of staff have been suspended from a care home while police investigate allegations that vulnerable adults were abused.

The Four Seasons Healthcare company has confirmed the suspensions occurred at its independent care home Rush Hall, in Limavady, Co Londonderry.

There are a total of 66 mostly elderly people, some suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's, currently living and being cared for at the Broighter Road home.

A police spokesman said they would be speaking to anyone who could assist officers "to help bring those responsible to justice".

A joint investigation is now being conducted by the Western Health and Social Care Trust, the PSNI and the health watchdog, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

Limavady mayor Cathal McLaughlin said families and the wider community would be concerned at the move. However, he cautioned that the investigation had yet to run its course.

"The investigation is still ongoing. We have to allow due process to take its course and we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with the care home residents, their families and the staff to give them our support," he added.

A spokeswoman for Four Seasons yesterday said: "The management of Rush Hall and Four Seasons Health Care senior managers are co-operating actively and fully with the Western Health and Social Care Trust, the RQIA and PSNI in an investigation into allegations relating to the care of vulnerable adults.

"Two members of staff have been suspended pending the outcome in line with our normal procedure and nothing more should be read into this. The wellbeing of the people in our care is our first priority and we have an active whistle-blowing policy that encourages staff to report any concerns and we always work with the relevant authorities to ensure they are rigorously investigated.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further ahead of the outcome of the investigation."

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police in G District have received a report of alleged abuse at an independent care facility within the Co Londonderry area. An investigation has been commenced and police will be speaking with anyone who can assist them with their inquiries."

The Western Trust confirmed it has arrangements in place to participate in, support and carry out investigations where a suspected or alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult has occurred.

A spokesman for RQIA confirmed the watchdog has also been notified of an investigation.

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