Belfast Telegraph

Independent review into failings at Dunmurry Manor care home

The Department of Health have announced their plans to enhance standards and restore public confidence at care homes across Northern Ireland.

The announcement comes in the wake of the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland's report into poor conditions and poor treatment of residents at Dunmurry Manor care home.

An independent review will be carried out in relation to the actions of the Health and Social Care system's involvement in failings at Dunmurry Manor care home.

A workshop event will also be held to address concerns around Dunmurry Manor and care home provision in Northern Ireland generally.

The Department also announced investment plans to improve care at nursing and residential homes.

These include £325k this financial year to support nursing in-reach from Trusts in care homes and £80k funding to improve skills to meet nursing care needs.

A public campaign to highlight how concerns can be made and complaints can be raised around care homes will also be rolled out and a new senior nursing post will be established at the Public Health Agency dedicated to working with care homes in the independent sector to ensure equality and safety of care for patients and residents.

Among the shocking catalogue of deficiencies found 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 at a time.

In one particularly upsetting example of neglect uncovered by the Commissioner, a resident’s bone was exposed as a result of a pressure sore that had been left to fester.

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly has said that public concern over the quality of care home provision following the revelations must be addressed.

“I want to re-emphasise that we are taking the report on Dunmurry Manor by the Commissioner for Older People very seriously," Mr Pengelly said.

“Our first priority has been to seek assurance on the current standard of care at the home. That has been provided from HSC colleagues, as well as through the independent assessment work which we commissioned.

“While I was pleased to hear of the very positive feedback given to RQIA by families of existing residents of Dunmurry Manor at a recent meeting, it is clear that unacceptable failings in care occurred repeatedly in the past. That is a matter of extreme regret for everyone in the HSC system."

Mr Pengelly said the new measures would ensure the failings at Dunmurry Manor were not repeated.

“In publicly saying sorry to residents and families who were let down, I must acknowledge that words alone are not enough. Action must, and will, be taken to ensure that failings are not repeated.

“The primary responsibility for care and standards in homes run by the independent sector rests, of course, with the care home provider.

“But Dunmurry Manor must serve as a stark reminder to the HSC system of its important responsibilities.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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