HSE: "more detailed" probe likely at care unit

The HSE has signalled that "a more detailed investigation will be required" into complaints at a care unit for people with intellectual disabilities where 11 workers have been placed on leave.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has already carried out an inspection of St Anne’s Centre near Roscrea after receiving complaints about the care of patients.

The centre is operated by the Daughters of Charity, which said it received complaints from a former worker last Monday about care practices at two units.

While it investigates the claims, 10 staff members and one agency worker have been placed on leave.

While the Hiqa inspection has already been carried out, it is not known when the findings will be completed although it is expected to happen shortly.

The Daughters of Charity is already conducting its own preliminary probe into the allegations, which is said were “not of a gratuitously violent/sexual nature”.

The HSE said: “The preliminary screening is always conducted by the provider and it is envisaged that a more detailed investigation will be required and this will be commissioned by the provider in consultation with HSE using appropriate expertise.

“It should also be noted that the preliminary screening is a detailed process in itself.”

As for the timeframe of the lodging of the complaints which triggered action at the centre, a HSE spokeswoman said: “A professional source, that is a person in the profession, who had a complaint, made the complaint known through an intermediary on Monday last, December 15 and that complaint was made known by the intermediary through two different channels.

“Firstly, to the provider of the service in Roscrea, the Daughters of Charity and secondly, to the regulator, Hiqa.

“The details or substance of the complaint would have been received by the provider on Tuesday, 16 December. The provider, the Daughters of Charity, notified the HSE.”

The Gardaí have also been notified about the complaints, while the workers have been placed on leave without prejudice and as a “protective measure”.

The complaints refer to activity in two units in St Anne’s, which operates four houses for long-term residents aged from 20-60 years with significant intellectual disabilities.

The probe comes just days after revelations about the Áras Attracta home in Swinford in Co Mayo.

The treatment of residents at the HSE-run centre, as revealed by an RTÉ PrimeTime Investigates programme, is already the subject of separate investigations.

Denis Cronin, CEO of the Daughters of Charity, said the person who lodged the complaint had worked at St Anne’s for a relatively short period of time but that he did not want to give any further details for fear of identifying them.

He also said the DOC had been contacted by relatives of some residents, some expressing concern and others offering support to the centre.

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