Wednesday 25 April 2018

Nurse is struck off following Leas Cross inquiry

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

THE former director of nursing at the controversial Leas Cross nursing home has been struck off after being found guilty of professional misconduct.

Grainne Paula Conway was head of nursing at the home in Swords, Co Dublin, between June 1999 and 2005 when it was shut down by the health authorities.

An inquiry, which followed a television expose on RTE's 'Prime Time', found that some residents at the home died after showing symptoms of grave neglect, including bed sores, dehydration and malnutrition.

It found that there were insufficient numbers of competent staff, which led to a serious deterioration in the standard of care in the two years before the home closed.

An application by An Bord Altranais, the regulatory body for nurses, to strike off Ms Conway was confirmed in the High Court on Monday.

She had been found guilty of professional misconduct by a private fitness-to-practise inquiry held by the regulatory body over eight days.

An Bord Altranais found that Ms Conway had failed to ensure that any adequate care was afforded to residents of Leas Cross Nursing Home.

The inquiry specifically named five residents of the home.

It also found that she had failed to respond adequately or at all to some of the complaints that had been raised in respect of the care afforded to the residents.

Ms Conway had also failed to ensure that there was an effective complaints process in place and that staff were adequately trained in relation to complaints.

The inquiry said that in reaching its findings and decision, the fitness-to-practise committee had regard to the "serious nature of the systematic failures to provide safe, adequate and appropriate care for residents at the home".

Residents

Ms Conway, as director of nursing, had overall responsibility and accountability for the care and welfare of residents of Leas Cross during the period in question.

The inquiry said: "The board of An Bord Altranais accepted in full the findings and recommended sanction in the report of the committee."

Although it noted that others were also employed to provide care to residents of Leas Cross, the board highlighted the crucial role of the director of nursing in relation to the standard of care provided.

The scandal of Leas Cross was instrumental in changing the way nursing homes are inspected.

That role was taken away from the Health Service Executive and given to the watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Irish Independent

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