Belfast Telegraph

Runwood not fit to run care homes, says patients' body

By Lisa Smyth

A care home owned by Runwood Homes was failing to meet basic safety standards six months after a team was put in place to drive up standards, it has emerged.

Glenabbey Manor, which provides nursing care for people with dementia, was ordered to stop admitting new residents in February of this year.

The action was taken by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) because it was so concerned about the safety of residents at the Newtownabbey home.

However, Gordon Sanders, the owner of Runwood Homes, has revealed he put in place a new management team six months before in a bid to drive up standards.

"In August 2017, I put a new Northern Ireland senior management team in place and we have worked hard to put things right at Dunmurry Manor as well as taking strenuous steps to ensure such a situation can never arise at any other group home," said Mr Sanders.

The move coincided with the closure of another Runwood-owned facility, Ashbrooke Care Home, which was forced to permanently close its doors because conditions there were so dangerous.

The fact that official action was taken against a third home owned by the firm - six months after steps were taken to raise standards - raises fresh concerns about the safety of some of the most vulnerable people in Northern Ireland.

Aidan Hanna from NI Patient Voice said: "The recent failings discovered by the RQIA at Glenabbey are yet more evidence that Runwood Homes cannot be relied on to provide safe care to residents.

"These failings and investigations must be a significant burden in terms of time and cost on the RQIA and health trusts.

"Almost every time Runwood Homes open a facility, the trust raises serious concerns or the RQIA issue failure to comply notices.

"Yet again, we ask when will the trusts say enough is enough?"

The RQIA revealed in February that it had taken enforcement action against Glenabbey Manor after an unannounced inspection of the facility carried out in response to intelligence it has received.

During the visit, it emerged that two residents had fallen at the home and required medical care.

However, the RQIA had not been informed of the incidents by the home - despite this being required by law.

The RQIA said: "This is the second time that this issue has been brought to the attention of the provider in respect of this home."

It also emerged during the inspection that staff were left in charge of the home despite the fact they had not completed the necessary assessment to prove they were capable of carrying out the role.

The RQIA said: "The registered provider's persistent failure to ensure that all staff who are left in charge of the home are competent and capable has the potential to place residents at risk of harm.

"This is the second time that this issue has been brought to the attention of the provider in respect of this home."

As a result, the regulatory body issued three failure to comply notices relating to standards in the home, including a notice of proposal to cease admissions.

It carried out a subsequent inspection six weeks later and deemed standards at the home had improved sufficiently to remove the notices and ban on new admissions.

Runwood Homes is the same company that operated Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, which was forced to close last year after regulators said conditions in the facility posed a serious risk to life.

They branded the failings there the worst they had ever seen.

Belfast Telegraph

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