Much more needs to be done to restore public confidence in care home provision in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Robin Swann has stated.
The Minister was commenting on an update report issued today by the Commissioner for Older People Eddie Lynch.
Mr Swann said: “I met with the Commissioner earlier this week. He is clearly frustrated at the system’s response to his 2018 ‘Home Truths’ report on Dunmurry Manor Care Home.
“While much of this frustration stems from the absence of an Executive and Minister, that is no comfort to the residents and families who were so badly let down.
“I want to make clear that I agree with the Commissioner that much more needs to be done to rebuild public confidence.
“As Minister, I want to extend my apologies to residents and families for the failings at Dunmurry Manor. I also apologise for the fact there has been no Assembly in place to bring forward legislative change. With devolution restored, the Executive and the Assembly can now right this wrong.”
The Minister continued: “Important work on reforms to the care system has been taken forward in the period since the publication of ‘Home Truths’. We now need to see this work translated into action.
“The independent review of the Dunmurry Manor case commissioned by the Department will produce an in-depth report on safeguarding very shortly.
“Overall, I want to see a far-reaching programme of change to improve the quality of nursing and residential homes and treatment of older people in Northern Ireland.
“This programme of change must encompass the commissioning of care, the routes by which older people are admitted to nursing and residential homes, the delivery of care by providers, and the workforce issues associated with care homes.
“It is right that systems designed to protect patients and improve the quality of care are continuously reviewed. Practices concerning adult safeguarding, complaints, the regulation of nursing and residential homes, their inspection and the ways in which we ensure public confidence must all be strengthened.
“I also believe the public are entitled to see care home owners and operators held to account when they provide sub-standard care.”
Mr Swann added: “The reforms I want to see can only be successfully implemented by working closely with all stakeholders, including the Commissioner for Older People and Dunmurry Manor families.”
Notes to editors:
- The Commissioner’s view: A summary of the responses to Home Truths is available on the COPNI website.
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