Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has today launched a series of policy and legislative reforms to strengthen regulation and clinical governance in nursing homes and the social care sector.
Speaking today as he launched Quality Care for All: Standards and Accountability in Social Care, Teachta Cullinane said:
“One major lesson from the pandemic is that regulation in the social care sector is not up to standard.
“Visitation guidance was unenforceable, and this led to severe isolation and neglect of residents in some nursing homes.
“To uncover the truth that families deserve about neglect, abuse, and deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic, we are re-iterating our call for a public inquiry.
“We need adult safeguarding legislation and a framework for protecting adults at risk of neglect or abuse.
“I am proposing interim powers for HIQA to enforce this until an independent safeguarding authority is in position to do so. These bodies also need a legal right of entry for investigations.
“I am also proposing additional normal powers for HIQA to issue compliance notices to achieve better standards in the sector, as well as penalties for nursing home management or owners where their decisions are responsible for the loss of health or life of residents in their care.
“We need accountability at an organisational level where residents are harmed but not through the direct actions of any individual.
“I am also proposing wider reforms of social care such as home help, and a new Office of the Chief Health and Social Care Professional to better regulate and devise policy for social care professions to ensure appropriate quality standards.”