Call for reform by Assemblyman

Stewart Dickson MLA. INCT 48-004-PSB
Stewart Dickson MLA. INCT 48-004-PSB

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has called for reform over the regulation of care homes after the publication of a review into Cherry Tree House.

The Alliance representative alleged the report highlighted ‘disturbing and serious’ failings by the home, the RQIA and the health trusts.

Mr Dickson claimed: “The report makes clear that Cherry Tree consistently failed to comply with minimum standards of care, with major issues of concerns remaining largely unaddressed for years.

“By the time of an inspection in March 2013, Cherry Tree had failed to adequately address issues raised as early as 2005, including training of staff in the management of medicines, robust audit systems and accurate personal medication records.

“There were other serious problems with maintenance of the home, management of incontinence, restraint of clients and supervision of staff.”

Mr Dickson continued that some of the report’s most serious aspects concerned apparent failings within the RQIA’s inspection process. “The health trusts have a responsibility to their clients in nursing homes such as Cherry Tree, yet it is clear from the report that the families of vulnerable residents did not know who to turn to with their concerns,” he added. “The overwhelming number of recommendations shows the scale of reform that is required to ensure that we have robust inspection procedures and enforcement mechanisms in place. I will be raising the need to examine such alternative models with my colleagues on the Assembly’s Health Committee and with the Department of Health.”