Friday 17 November 2017

Care centre 'lapse' as woman locked in bus for hours

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A CARE centre has admitted to "serious gaps" in its procedures after a woman with special needs was accidentally locked in a minibus for seven hours.

The woman was said to be in a distressed state when she was eventually discovered alone in the bus hours later.

Denis Kennedy, chairman of the MooreHaven Centre in Tipperary town, said the incident last week was a "major lapse" on the part of the centre and it had apologised to the woman's family.

The woman was collected by the bus from her home on Monday morning last week. It then travelled to the centre where passengers disembarked at around 9am.

However, the woman remained on the bus unnoticed and it was then driven away to a bus yard at Limerick Junction where she spent the next seven hours.

Mr Kennedy said there were two failures in the case: that the bus wasn't checked when the passengers disembarked and that the centre did not have a procedure in place to ensure everybody who got on the bus arrived safely in the centre.

"These in retrospect . . . were serious gaps. Thankfully over the years they haven't caused a problem of this magnitude but on this occasion, clearly a serious problem did arise," said Mr Kennedy on RTe's 'Morning Ireland'.

"We've actually implemented a few changes in procedure now to ensure that such an event can't happen again," he added.

MooreHaven operates a day centre for more than 100 adults with mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities, and a residential centre for another 19 adults.

"When we get things wrong, we will hold our hand up, and we are holding our hand up in this instance," said Mr Kennedy.

"But equally we know that we do a lot of things very well in MooreHaven and I think our service users and their families have a lot of confidence in our centre."

Irish Independent

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