Belfast Telegraph

Dunmurry Manor care home review a waste of money, claim angry relatives

By Lisa Smyth

Relatives of those who suffered appalling neglect at Dunmurry Manor have hit out after health officials launched a review into failings at the home.

The Department of Health has commissioned an independent review into failings at the facility - focusing specifically on the actions of the health and social care system.

The review will be carried out by CPEA - a social care, health and management consultancy - and aims to identify lessons to be learned for the future.

It comes after Eddie Lynch, the commissioner for older people in Northern Ireland (COPNI), published the findings of his 16-month investigation into conditions at Dunmurry Manor, which uncovered a devastating catalogue of abuse and neglect.

Julieann McNally, whose grandmother Annie McCourt was admitted to the home in January 2016, accused health officials of wasting money.

"We already know what happened, we have it in black and white in Mr Lynch's report," she said.

"I really don't see why we need another review when Eddie Lynch has already spent 16 months looking at what went wrong at Dunmurry Manor and made a series of recommendations.

"What we need now is for the department to start implementing those changes to make sure nothing like this ever happens again, but instead there is going to be another report, costing who knows how much money, and there are no guarantees that anything will be done."

Ms McNally said she's also sceptical the latest review will result in any meaningful action given the fact that the failings at Dunmurry Manor were allowed to happen in spite of an earlier separate review aimed at protecting residents of care homes across Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health commissioned an independent review looking at the response by officials in relation to concerns about Cherry Tree House in Carrickfergus between 2005 and 2013.

This resulted in 22 recommendations to drive up standards in care homes.

However, when he published his report earlier this year, Mr Lynch said the horrific conditions at Dunmurry Manor could have been prevented had health officials done more after the Cherry Tree scandal.

Karen McVicker, whose mum Helen Bell was 72 years old when she died at Dunmurry Manor and had a bone was exposed as a result of pressure sore, also criticised the review.

"I don't have any confidence in it," she said.

"We don't need any more reports, the evidence is already there in the commissioner's report.

"I want someone to be held accountable for what has happened and I don't think another report is going to tell us anymore than we already know."

Ms McVicker said she is also concerned as the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) has defended the organisation's role in the failings at Dunmurry Manor.

Gordon Sanders - who owns Runwood Homes, the company that owns Dunmurry Manor - has said he does not accept all the findings in the COPNI report.

Ms McVicker said: "Who is to say that they will hold their hands up and accept their responsibility after another report.

"This is just prolonging the agony of the families. It's time that those who allowed our relatives to suffer the way they did are finally held to account."

It the second time the Department of Health has asked CPEA to look at issues relating to Dunmurry Manor. Ahead of the publication of Mr Lynch's report, health chiefs asked them to assess current standards at the home.

In its interim report released the day before the COPNI report, the organisation deemed that Dunmurry Manor was a "safe place for people to live quality lives".

However since then, an inspection of the facility carried out by the RQIA uncovered further concerns about infection control and wound management.

Meanwhile, the family of another resident came forward to reveal that their loved one had C Difficile when she died there less than two months ago.

The family said that staff did not use gloves or aprons when dealing with their loved one, nor did they warn the family that they should also use protective equipment when visiting.

Belfast Telegraph

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