Belfast Telegraph

Dunmurry boss had managed separate home probed by PSNI

Dunmurry Manor care home
Dunmurry Manor care home

By Lisa Smyth

A nurse who managed a care home when it was under police investigation was later put in charge of Dunmurry Manor, it has emerged.

Disgraced provider Runwood Homes gave Stephanie Shannon the job despite the fact that she was the manager of Colinvale Court in west Belfast when it repeatedly failed to meet basic safety standards.

The health watchdog was so concerned about the welfare of Colinvale Court residents that it issued 10 failure to comply notices. A notice of proposal to impose conditions on the home's registration was also issued.

Problems included dirty equipment, inadequate staffing and a failure to properly manage residents in pain and at risk of developing ulcers.

Ms Shannon was appointed manager at Dunmurry Manor a year after a report uncovered a litany of failings at the home.

Among the issues discovered by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland at Dunmurry Manor was a failure to act over resident-on-resident sex abuse, elderly people left for hours in urine-soaked clothing, residents going without food and water and some going without medication for three weeks. The findings were so shocking that police launched an investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect.

"Eddie Lynch (the Commissioner for Older People) highlighted the extent of the horror that was going on at Dunmurry Manor, something Runwood Homes seemed to reject," said Aidan Hanna from the campaign group NI Patient Voice.

"It's alarming but not surprising that the company would appoint a manager who was previously in charge of a home that was at the centre of enforcement action and a police investigation.

"It's little wonder that relatives of residents at Dunmurry Manor are still worried about the safety of their loved ones."

Ms Shannon is no longer manager of Dunmurry Manor, according to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). Its website says Michelle Montgomery is now in charge.

A spokesman for the RQIA said: "Last week, Runwood Homes advised the RQIA of new management arrangements at Dunmurry Manor.

"The RQIA is currently awaiting an application for the registration of the new manager for Dunmurry Manor, who took up the position this week."

Ms Shannon was the manager of Colinvale Court in July 2014 when it was visited by the RQIA after a whistleblower contacted the watchdog.

An inspection was also carried out to assess whether failings identified during visits in May 2013 and September 2012, when Ms Shannon was manager, had been addressed.

A report following the July 2014 visit said the "inspection process identified a range of significant concerns" relating to patient care and the quality of management and governance at Colinvale Court, especially in relation to a lack of leadership and management regarding dementia care practice and hygiene and infection control.

The RQIA inspector found there was no system in place to review the quality of nursing at the home and the number of staff on duty was too low to meet the needs of the patients.

The home also lacked a proper system to ensure residents were not at risk of harm, suffering or abuse and failed to maintain acceptable hygiene standards.

Inspectors noted bad smells throughout the facility and dirty bedrails, with hazardous substances left where residents could access them.

The inspection report said: "There have been four notifications to the RQIA regarding the safeguarding of vulnerable adults incidents since April 2014.

"The incidents are being managed in accordance with the regional adult protection policy by the safeguarding team within the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

"Multi-agency investigations are ongoing involving the PSNI and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust."

As a result of the concerns uncovered by the RQIA, 10 failure to comply notices and a notice of proposal to impose three conditions on the home's registration were issued.

Runwood Homes was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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