It is bizarre to suggest that the agency centrally responsible for the failure of care should investigate itself
An independent review of HSE-run disability services in the northwest is urgently required, according to Social Democrats Health Spokesperson Róisín Shortall.
“Further revelations about a lack of adherence to safeguarding procedures in HSE-run disability services in the northwest are deeply concerning. It is grotesque that a resident in a HSE centre was able to access child exploitation material online – and further received no apparent intervention or support when this was discovered.
“HIQA is so alarmed by this revelation that it has stated there are now questions surrounding the HSE’s fitness to provide services for people with disabilities in the northwest. This is a damning indictment of the HSE – and hugely alarming for those residents and families who rely on these critical services.
“This is the second time, in a matter of months, that there have been devastating revelations about disability services in the northwest. The Brandon report, which has yet to be published, outlines the serial sexual abuse of residents in another centre, which was perpetrated by a resident with the full knowledge of management. That sexual abuse started in 2003 and continued for more than a decade.
“We now need an independent investigation into disability services in the northwest. Basic safeguarding procedures, which are in place to protect our most vulnerable citizens, cannot just be blithely jettisoned or ignored. The HSE has demonstrably failed in its duty of care to residents in at least two centres and an independent investigation is required to find out why this occurred.
“The HSE has said it intends to launch its own internal review. Given the gross nature of the HSE failings in both of these cases, any internal review would have zero credibility. It is bizarre to suggest that the agency centrally responsible for the failure of care should investigate itself.
“Disability services are at crisis point all over the country, with lengthy waiting lists for many services. The least families should expect is that their loved ones should be safe, and protected, when they are residents in State-run centres. In order to restore public confidence, and ensure scandals of a similar nature do not arise in the future, an independent investigation is required.”
15 February, 2022