Dozens of placement records scrutinised

Nearly 50 adults with intellectual disabilities were given priority follow-up after a HSE review revealed shortfalls in official records relating to hundreds of people whose placements were funded by health authorities.

The details in the unpublished 2013 review, which was outlined in an RTÉ Investigates report last night, included the fact that there were no case files for nearly 200 adults with intellectual disabilities.

The examination of 1,080 files spanning a 30-year period led to the report by a senior social worker, who said some files were a “complete mystery”. Some had not been updated for more than 25 years and only contained just a single sheet of paper.

RTÉ Investigates said the HSE has told it that, of the 1,080 files reviewed, 47 priority cases were highlighted for follow up.

It said the care and safety needs of all highlighted cases are being met and there are no current safeguarding issues. A range of service improvements had been put in place to safeguard vulnerable adults from neglect or abuse.

Last night’s report suggested that failures identified in the ‘Grace’ case last year were not isolated. In that case, a woman with profound intellectual disabilities remained in a care setting for almost 20 years even though there had been several sexual abuse allegations about other children in the same setting, who were subsequently placed elsewhere.

One woman whose case was highlighted in the leaked 2013 report had been returned regularly to her family home without supervision, despite knowledge that she had been sexually abused in childhood by a family member.

RTÉ Investigates said the report reveals these visits were to be supervised, but the HSE worker who accompanied the woman did not know this, or about the abuse.

In two other cases, adults placed with services or in residential care had not been visited by health authorities in at least 16 years.

One of those people’s file contained very little information, according to the review, despite €88,000 a year being spent on the placement.

The ‘Grace’ case prompted two case reviews to be commissioned by the HSE, one in 2012 and another last year.

A statutory commission of investigation into the matter was approved by the Government earlier this year.

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