Belfast Telegraph

Older People champion in call to avert new nursing care scandal in Northern Ireland

Concern: Eddie Lynch
Concern: Eddie Lynch
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The Commissioner for Older People said he fears another Dunmurry Manor-style scandal after stories of "horrendous" experiences emerged from a nursing home in the north west.

Issues at Owen Mor Care Centre in Londonderry were raised in May and after a follow-up inspection in August new patient admissions were formally stopped.

Now a public meeting, organised by one family with a relative resident in the home, has heard more harrowing stories.

Ciara Stewart said her 76-year-old father-in-law, who has a form of dementia, had not received basic care for more than a year.

"We only realised when we spoke out that we weren't the only family being affected," Ms Stewart said.

She said her family's experience had been "horrendous", having previously been told by management that "they were the problem", she added.

The Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch, said the failings are "depressingly familiar". He said there was an onus on all authorities to ensure care at the Londonderry home "improves now".

"We can't afford to wait another number of months to fix the problems," he said.

"What residents and families need is action now."

The 81-bed facility cares for people with learning difficulties, mental health issues and dementia, and management has already apologised.

"At Owen Mor our priority is to deliver the highest possible standards of care with compassion," management said in a statement.

"We apologise to our residents and their families that, over the past few months, we have fallen short of our regulatory requirements and are working to ensure that these are fully reinstated."

People Before Profit Derry and Strabane councillor Shaun Harkin called for an urgent inquiry.

"The owners, management and those responsible for failures should be held to account," he said.

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