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Man quizzed after alleged assault of resident in Muckamore care home

The PSNI said police received a report of an assault at the home on September 21
The PSNI said police received a report of an assault at the home on September 21

By Lisa Smyth

A man has been interviewed by police over an alleged assault of a resident of a Northern Ireland care home.

A file is to be sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) following an investigation of an incident at Clonlee Nursing Home.

The home, in Muckamore on the outskirts of Antrim, is registered with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) to provide nursing care for up to 53 people.

A PSNI spokesman said police received a report of an assault at the home on September 21.

He continued: "Officers from PSNI Public Protection Branch are working to establish the circumstances of the incident.

"The inquiry is at a very early stage and there are no further details available at this time."

However, the spokesman subsequently said: "A man was interviewed by police and a file is being prepared for the PPS."

Clonlee Nursing Home did not respond to a request for a comment.

The case is the latest to raise concerns over the safety of some of the most vulnerable people in Northern Ireland.

Last month it emerged that a 30-year-old man had been arrested by police in connection with abuse allegations at nearby Muckamore Abbey Hospital.

He is the first person to be arrested since the allegations about the hospital have come to light.

In recent months, detectives have been investigating thousands of incidents after it was claimed that patients at the hospital have been physically and mentally abused.

The controversy has prompted repeated calls for a public inquiry into conditions at the home, something the Department of Health has refused to implement.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland is yet to comment on the official responses to his explosive Dunmurry Manor Care Home investigation.

Eddie Lynch found a litany of failings at the care home, including residents going for weeks without their medication and mismanagement of resident on resident sex abuse.

Both cases have raised serious concerns over the safety of care home residents and long-term residents of mental health facilities, in particular the response of the RQIA and trust bosses to safety concerns.

At the time Mr Lynch published his findings, the RQIA hit out at the investigation, although it is not known what official response they have provided to Mr Lynch.

Health trusts in Northern Ireland pay Hutchinson Care Homes, the company that owns Clonlee, up to £780 each week for every person it places at the Antrim home.

The resident allegedly assaulted in September was placed in the home by the Belfast Trust.

A spokesman from the Trust said: "This is an active police investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this stage."

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) said it was appropriately notified by the home about the assault allegation.

A spokesman continued: "RQIA will continue to liaise with the PSNI and Belfast Trust in this matter, in line with the Protocol for the Joint Investigation of Adult Safeguarding Cases."

The most recent RQIA inspection of the home, on June 4, identified a number of failings, including the assessment and management of bed rails and the response to residents suffering a fall.

Specifically, the regulator said the policy for the use of bed rails needed to be updated and shared with staff.

The inspection report continued: "It is good practice that following a fall a post-falls review is completed and the care plan amended accordingly; this review was not consistently being completed.

"A body map to record any injuri es or bruising sustained as a result of a fall were also not completed."

The registered manager at the home said the issues had already been raised by the Northern Trust and they were working to address them.

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