Wednesday 12 December 2018

Money from residents' accounts 'missing' in HSE home

(stock image)
(stock image)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A HSE-run centre for young people who are chronically ill was unable to explain to inspectors why sums of money of up to €127.50 were missing from the accounts of some residents.

The lack of proper financial safeguards was among a litany of failings uncovered at the centre on the campus of Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin.

When inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) arrived unannounced in November, nobody asked them who they were or requested identification.

The inspectors viewed a sample of three residents' accounts. In one file, €41.30 was unaccounted for, and another missing €127.50 could not be explained. Some €30 was absent from a third account.

"Inspectors requested to view the last two financial audits conducted within the centre. However, staff members were unable to locate these on the day of inspection."

At the time the report was being written, they had still not been received.

It comes a week after the Irish Independent revealed a damning report on managing resident funds in some care homes. Nearly 10,000 residents nationwide have private property including bank accounts, pension books, house documents, investments or jewellery left in charge of the HSE.

Meanwhile, at the centre on the Cherry Orchard campus, the inspection also found the privacy and dignity of residents in relation to their living space was compromised.

Some did not have enough space to store their clothes and personal possessions.

The inspectors were also "not assured that appropriate actions were taken in response to allegations, disclosures or suspected abuse".

No staff member they talked to could outline the different forms of potential abuse or the reporting structure.

The Hiqa report said seven long-standing members of staff were yet to be Garda vetted.

The inspectors were told this would be completed within the required time set out by the 2012 law, making it mandatory.

When they asked whether agency staff were vetted, they were told no evidence was available from three agencies supplying workers.

There were inconsistencies in servicing some of the firefighting equipment.

"A fire blanket had not been serviced since April 2012 and another had not been serviced since April 2016."

They said the system of annual servicing of firefighting equipment needed to be reviewed.

The HSE has now agreed a plan to address the issues highlighted by the inspectors. This is the third inspection of the centre.

The Hiqa inspectors acknowledged the co-operation and assistance of all the people who participated in the inspection.

Follow-up visits will take place to measure the progress in the measures which have been prioritised to tackle the serious issues.

Irish Independent

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