Home failed to properly report abuse claims

Cherry Tree House Nursing Home. INCT 49-004-PSB
Cherry Tree House Nursing Home. INCT 49-004-PSB

A lobby group has called for ‘action’ against a Carrick care home after it failed to properly report allegations of abuse towards two residents.

Patients First is urging both the Health Minister and the Regulation and Improvement Authority to impose sanctions against Cherry Tree Nursing Home, which was served with a ‘failure to comply’ notice 
last month.

The order followed an inspection from the regulators which found that Cherry Tree owner, Dr Dean Harron, had not adhered to legislation surrounding the safeguarding of vulnerable adults.

Patients First spokesman Aidan Hanna said: “We call on the RQIA and the Health Minister to take urgent action without delay.”

In a letter issued to residents, Cherry Tree manager Jennifer Tracey apologised for any distress caused by the development, which came despite “continuous improvement” at the home over the past 18 months.

“In our case the notice was issued by RQIA when we breached the rules of reporting set out for managing our facility. The notice was the result of a former manager not properly reporting a concern she had investigated into two instances involving one agency care assistant when a vulnerable patient was being assisted during a meal, and when another was spoken to sharply,” the letter alleged.

While both incidents were investigated and action taken, Ms Tracey alleged that the home’s former manager failed to follow this up by reporting the matter to the Northern Health Trust.

“Furthermore this was not picked up at our monthly management meetings and these safeguard systems are now being reviewed to prevent such a serious oversight occurring in the future,” she said.

“Our patients and residents should and can expect the very best from our staff and we take extremely seriously any shortcomings that are implied or identified. We have in place robust reporting procedures which should have been used in this instance and were not.

“On being notified by RQIA about this failure we carried out a full briefing of all staff to ensure they are fully aware of our policies and the processes we have in place.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Department of Health indicated that the home has until July 9 to comply with the order. “The safety and wellbeing of the patients and residents at Cherry Tree House is of paramount importance, and I am assured that RQIA, through its ongoing regulatory activities, continues to monitor the quality and safety of this service,” the spokesperson added.