Leas Cross Report catalogues abuse

An unpublished report into Leas Cross nursing home details a catalogue of systematic institutional abuse, the Dáil heard tonight.

An unpublished report into Leas Cross nursing home details a catalogue of systematic institutional abuse, the Dáil heard tonight.

Opposition leader Enda Kenny read extracts of findings by Prof Des O’Neill into the north Dublin facility which was forced to close in August 2005 after a damning RTÉ expose of abuses of patients.

The report has not been published because the Health Service Executive believes it is incomplete and may implicate individuals named in the text.

Health Minster Mary Harney hopes to clear the report for publication in coming weeks.

Reading extracts from the report under Dáil privilege, Mr Kenny said it pointed to a systematic failure by Government, health boards and professional bodies to provide the appropriate quality of care for older people.

He told TDs: “Some 14% of admissions were recorded as having skin conditions and one can only imagine the wetting, the chafing and the pressure sores.

“There were deficiencies in pressure sore prevention and cure and in the management of swallowing disorders.

“An alarming number of people were nursed in Buxton chairs and there were damning deficiencies in expertise, nurse numbers and nursing infrastructure.

“There was a systematic failure by Government, health boards and professional bodies to provide the appropriate quality of care for older people.

“Overall, the findings are consistent with institutional abuse on the Government’s watch.”

Mr Ahern said that large increases in pensions and the electricity allowances have resulted in €150m in extra services for older people.

“When the problems in Leas Cross nursing home were highlighted, the Government closed it, which was the best action to take, given that we were not satisfied with the standard of care of older people there.

“We moved all its residents to decent accommodation with acceptable standards.”

The Health (Hospitals Inspectorate) Bill 2006 will put the social services inspectorate on a statutory footing and underpin a more robust inspection system, he added.

“The HSE also proposes to employ 32 elder abuse officers and the recruitment process is at an advanced stage.

“The HSE has embarked on a process of standardising inspection reports, involving doctors, nurses, environmental health officers and others.

Further quoting the report, Mr Kenny read into the Dáil record: “Given the lack of structural funding, standards and oversights, the standards in Leas Cross are very likely to be replicated to a greater or lesser extent in institutions throughout the long care system.”

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