East Antrim Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA has taken part in an adjournment debate on Cherry Tree House at the Northern Ireland Assembly. Cherry Tree House has been in the public eye following recent inspections carried out by RQIA.
Ulster Unionist Party representative Roy Beggs said “Cherry Tree House has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. It is important that lessons are learned from it and that others will not face similar circumstances.”
Speaking about the RQIA inspection process, Mr Beggs added “I am keen to learn why it has taken so long to identify that there were such basic failings in the methods used by the RQIA. Only by changing the inspection process can failings be identified and addressed and standards of care for the elderly improved.”
“The subsequent publication of the highly critical report, ‘Independent Review of the Actions Taken’, highlighted very basic failings in the original RQIA inspections. RQIA inspections need to be rectified, as many families rely on them to give a degree of reassurance, when they may be unable to be present that their vulnerable family member is being cared for and looked after appropriately and protected. Lessons need to be learned for the benefit not only of this home but for the RQIA and, indeed all residential homes throughout Northern Ireland.”
Roy Beggs MLA then focussed on the failings as highlighted in the Independent report. “The primary reason why the failing were highlighted was the whistle-blowing… With a number of the recommendations, I am alarmed that they have had to be made in the first place. You would think that they would have been in place from the start. What are we talking about here? The whistle-blowers included an agency care assistant, three care assistants, three members of Cherry Tree House staff, an observer in Carrickfergus and two other members of Cherry Tree House. Alarm Bells should have been ringing very loudly during the process.”
“Allegations of abuse of residents were mentioned at least 16 times. The standard of care delivered to residents was mentioned at least 25 times. Other care issues, such as failure to implement procedures for the protection of vulnerable adults, were mentioned at least 15 times. Glaring issues were raised, but they were not addressed.”
Summing up, the UUP MLA added; “When you are given a warning that there is a problem in an area, that area should be concentrated on and any issues that arise should be addressed. Clearly, aspects of the RQIA inspection methodology and practises need to be implemented over the period. Lessons must be learned, for the benefit of all our vulnerable elderly people who need care in residential and nursing homes.”