Dunmurry Manor scandal: Relatives challenge health regulator

Protesters outside the Belfast offices of health regulator the RQIA

RELATIVES of pensioners who suffered appalling neglect in a Belfast care home have staged a protest outside a health regulator's headquarters.

Families protested outside the offices of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) in Belfast this morning.

They openly challenged the regulator's claim that it "did not fail" in its duty over Dunmurry Manor home in the west of the city.

A scathing investigation published last week found there had been a "horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment" at the Dunmurry home, which opened four years ago and was repeatedly inspected by the watchdog.

The probe found residents went for “weeks on end without meals” and were denied medication.

Sexual assaults were carried out on some frail female patients by other residents at the care home, while others suffered extreme weight loss – with one pensioner dropping 10 stone in five months.

Dunmurry Manor care home in west Belfast

Carried out by the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, the probe was highly critical of the RQIA's role - with commissioner Eddie Lynch stating its inspectors found the home "to be meeting the required standards of care" when "terrible incidents" were occurring.

Twenty-four hours after the publication of the 'Home Truths' probe, the RQIA's chief executive, Olive MacLeod, told the BBC that she refuted allegations it had failed in its statutory duties.

"We did not fail. We inspected and took the appropriate action to help this home to improve," she said.

The watchdog then issued a statement saying it "does not agree" with part of the commissioner's report, insisting there was no evidence of institutional abuse at the care home.

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