Another worker at Áras Attracta care home suspended
Another staff member in Áras Attracta, the home for the intellectually disabled in Mayo, has been suspended and an agency worker has been let go following concerns about poor care practices.
The HSE insisted last night that the latest actions follow internal surveillance of care standards at the home.
The home in Swinford was at the centre of a shocking, undercover RTE 'Prime Time' exposé in December, showing residents being poorly treated.
Last month six staff members who worked at the home were charged with assault arising out of alleged incidents in November last year in Bungalow Three in the complex.
The HSE confirmed to the Irish Independent that it is now dealing with two matters which have resulted in a staff member being placed off duty with pay as a protective measure. An agency worker will also no longer be employed there.
It is understood that an inspection team from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), the patient safety watchdog, carried out an unannounced inspection of the home on Sunday, July 12, and raised concerns.
A HSE spokeswoman said last night: "These were not reported or managed as a result of a recent Hiqa inspection. The issues came to attention through the proactive implementation of safeguarding measures right across the sector.
"It is important to remember in the case of the staff member off duty as a protective measure that the matter stands as a complaint and not a conclusion. In both incidents poor care practices are the focus.
"The HSE, while regretting any deviation from care standards, alleged or otherwise, is pleased that we have seen major improvements and reporting of concerns is now seen as best practice.
"Equally, the approach to responding to concern is indicative that strengthened governance arrangements are working. It is imperative that any commentary is mindful of the fact that these reports were from within áras Attracta, reflecting an important improvement. They are unrelated and are not associated with the extensive investigation under way into matters first reported in 2014."
The spokeswoman said that áras Attracta "has and continues to undergo significant change".
"A new director of services has been appointed and this week we will interview for three key senior clinical positions, following which áras will move from being one large-scale entity to three discreet centres reflecting the levels of dependency and needs of the residents.
"This will strengthen governance and oversight, but also drive the services further into the modern-day approach to such care and support.
"We have approved a further 25 posts to allow us to commission two vacant bungalows so as to reduce the numbers in some of the existing ones," added the spokeswoman.