Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has welcomed the publishing of the HIQA report of governance and safeguarding in Western Care Association designated centres for people with disabilities.
The Mayo TD said the report confirms the concerns outlined to her in the dozens of complaints received from staff and former staff of the organisation since October 2022.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“The report makes for stark reading. Failure to comply with regulations on governance and management, risk management procedures, protection and positive behavioural support is laid very clear in the report.
“Inspectors found that there was ‘inadequate auditing and oversight of safeguarding arrangements’.
“The areas of inadequate governance and oversight that were negatively impacting on the quality of service included: risks not being identified or escalated, safeguarding arrangements were not followed, critical incidents not being appropriately investigated, restrictive practices impacting on the quality of life and freedoms of residents were not subject to review, delays in access to therapies and supports, inadequate staff training.
“The board had no arrangements for review of audits or action plans.
“It is important to state that this report relates only to the Western Care Association designated residential centres as HIQA do not have legal authority to regulate or assess any other services operated by Western Care.
“This raises questions for the HSE and the Ministers involved. After reading this report, do they have confidence that the failings documented in this report are not part of a culture of inadequate auditing and oversight of safeguarding arrangements?
“What further oversight/inspections do they plan to ensure people in Mayo can have full confidence in Western Care? And that public money is used to achieve the best outcomes and ensure human rights compliance for individuals and families reliant on these vital services?
“It is obvious from the report that Western Care is lucky to have staff working on the ground who are dedicated to looking after the needs of the vulnerable people they work with.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to all the workers, former workers, families and to Edwin McGreal and the Mayo News for bringing these non-compliance issues to the fore and hopefully making Western Care a better organisation.
“I would like to see senior management and the board of Western Care acknowledge the positive difference these contributors have made and encourage others to come forward with concerns they may have as well as suggestions for enhancement.
“HIQA have limited powers to investigate and oversee the full range of services provided by organisations such as Western Care.
“It must be now given the powers to act across all services and resources must be provided and targeted to ensure that the human rights of our most vulnerable citizens are upheld.”