‘I hope we won’t see a repeat of Cherry Tree’ - Dickson

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson (file photo).
East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson (file photo).

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has welcomed a report from Professor Sir Liam Donaldson calling for improvements to the regulation of health services.

The Alliance representative has been involved in an ongoing campaign over the regulation of nursing and care homes, including Cherry Tree House in Carrickfergus.

Mr Dickson said: “I have been lobbying the Health Minister, and his predecessor, to improve the powers of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) following concerns around the regulation of care homes across Northern Ireland, including Cherry Tree nursing home.

“For instance, regulators often relied upon the word of nursing home managers that standards were being adhered to, rather than checking for themselves.

“I have been calling for a more robust enforcement policy for RQIA and hope that the Minister will implement all the findings and recommendations of this report to ensure that the report is turned into reality.

“I am pleased that this report contains several recommendations which could improve the regulation of care and nursing homes, especially around unannounced inspections and whistle-blowers. I hope that this report will ensure that standards at all care homes are increased and we won’t see a repetition of the problems that took place at Cherry Tree and other similar homes.”