New laws will stop Leas Cross repeat, vows Harney

New legislation will set up a strict inspection regime for nursing homes so a Leas Cross scandal will never happen again, Health Minster Mary Harney said today.

New legislation will set up a strict inspection regime for nursing homes so a Leas Cross scandal will never happen again, Health Minster Mary Harney said today.

Speaking before a critical report on the north Dublin home was published, Ms Harney said she believed its sub-standard care was the exception rather than the norm.

Leas Cross was shut down in July 2005 after an undercover RTE television investigation caused a public outcry.

Residents were later transferred to other homes and Ms Harney commissioned a report on Leas Cross by consultant geriatrician Prof Des O’Neill.

The minister said today: “I think we all have a responsibility not to frighten older people and their families.

“In the vast, vast majority of cases, older people in residential care are very well looked after. Leas Cross, is I believe the exception.

“Like the disability sector for many years, we’re playing catch-up here because there has been historic underfunding and there has been a failure to establish a statutory inspection regime and we won’t have that until we have new legislation and the new Health Information Quality Authority legislation which will be published before Christmas.

The long-awaited Leas Cross Report is highly critical of poor standards of care at the nursing home and of the role of the HSE and the former Eastern Regional Health Authority.

The findings also criticise the level of medical and nursing cover at Leas Cross.

Publication has been delayed for several weeks because the HSE insisted on allowing submissions from individuals mentioned in the text. Leaked extracts have already appeared in the media.

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