A recent HIQA report of a residential centre for children with disabilities found that two residents, who both required a wheelchair, had been confined to the first floor of the centre for 25 days due to a broken lift.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully, in reaction to the report, stated that the treatment of the children was ‘disturbing and unacceptable’ and called for strong enforcement action for centres which have been found not to be in compliance with their statutory obligations.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:
“The recent HIQA report which found that a residential centre in Monaghan had left two children confined to the first floor of the centre for 25 days in January is very disturbing and is unacceptable.
“The two children in question require a wheelchair and were unable to access the ground floor due to a broken lift.
“This meant that neither of the children had been able to attend school, and one had missed a necessary appointment.
“The unannounced inspection by HIQA was carried out on the 25th of January and the report was published on the 8th of May.
“This was not the first time such an incident had occurred at this centre as the report points out that the lift had been broken for 34 days from July into August 2022, again leaving the residents confined to the first floor.
“Neither of these incidents were reported by the provider to HIQA, as they are obliged to by law.
“The report also found that the governance and management arrangements were ineffective and that while concerns were raised by the person in charge of the centre it also states that there were delays in this information reaching senior management levels.
“This failure of senior management completely disregards the human rights of the residents. It in no way complies with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and is in no way acceptable.
“In its compliance plan, included as an appendix to the report, the service provider sets out the ways in which it has, or intends to, come into compliance with Regulations.
“This report shows the importance of HIQA carrying out unannounced inspections.
“In response to a parliamentary question I raised with the Minister for Health it stated that in 2021 out of 1,220 inspections of centres for people with disabilities carried out by HIQA only 384, less than a third, were unannounced.
“Unannounced inspections of disability centres are vital to ensuring that disability providers are complying with the regulations, treating residents with the dignity and respect they deserve, and ensuring the rights of disabled people are protected.”