Northern Ireland news

Private English consultants called in to probe Dunmurry Manor failings

The response of health service bodies in Northern Ireland to the serious care failings at Dunmurry Manor Care home are to be investigated by a private consultancy firm.
Seanín Graham

A PRIVATE consultancy firm which helped probe one of the worst ever care home scandals in England is to head up an independent investigation into a Belfast facility.

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has commissioned CPEA to examine failings at Dunmurry Manor care home after it emerged vulnerable dementia patients were starved and suffered appalling neglect.

The firm provides expert 'scrutiny' of the social care sector across the NHS.

Margaret Flynn, who works for CPEA, co-wrote the major review into the Winterbourne View home, which had six of its care workers jailed after an undercover BBC reporter filmed shocking abuse of disabled residents six years ago.

The development comes a month after the Commissioner for Older People in the north published a damning report into Dunmurry Manor in which he concluded the residents had suffered 'a horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment".

The Commissioner, Eddie Lynch, also criticised health service bodies including the RQIA watchdog, the department and some health trusts about their response to whistleblower complaints and the inspection process.

Two days before the release of the Commissioner's probe, the Department released a largely positive review it had ordered into the RQIA's role in monitoring care at the home - a move which "distressed" families.

Relatives of residents have called for resignations and more accountability across the health service - but to date no-one has stepped down from their posts.

The new CPEA review will focus on the "responses" of health authorities and "identify lessons to be learned for the future", according to a department spokeswoman.

She added: "As the permanent secretary (Richard Pengelly) has made clear, the Department of Health takes very seriously the issues which have emerged from Dunmurry Manor.

"This independent review...will give us a clear picture of how these care failings came about and, crucially, how we can put systems in place to prevent them occurring again."

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