Monday 19 March 2018

HIQA inspect Oberstown standards

Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus near Lusk
Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus near Lusk

John Manning

The management of Oberstown Detention Campus says it 'accepts' the findings of a HIQA report that finds the centre only fully complies with two of 10 standards inspectors applied to the institution but campus management insist they have an action plan to address the issues identified in the report.

An announced inspection by HIQA was carried out on Oberstown Children Detention Campus across four days from March 27 to 30 2017. All 10 standards were assessed as part of this process, with two standards found to be compliant, six standards found to be in 'moderate non-compliance', and two standards at the level of 'major non-compliance'.

HIQA acknowledged: 'The campus has undergone a number of significant changes since the previous HIQA inspection, including new governance arrangements, increased workforce and an electronic system of recording and managing information.

'Children were given information about their rights, they were consulted and given choices. The educational needs of children were assessed and met. They were listened to and their complaints were taken seriously, but the complaints process was not sufficiently robust. While there were measures in place to safeguard children, not all staff had training in Children First (2011).'

HIQA stated: 'Inspectors found there continued to be a number of instances of children spending prolonged periods of time in single separation for the management of behaviour that challenges. However, there was a lack of robust management oversight in the monitoring of these incidents. The overall approach to the management of behaviour was subject to review at the time of inspection.'

HIQA found that 'while the overall provision of healthcare on the campus had improved, inspectors identified two serious risks in regard to medicines management'.

Acknowledging the response of the campus to the findings, HIQA stated: 'An immediate action plan was issued in relation to safeguarding a child in relation to the safe administration of a prescribed medicine, and ensuring that measures were in place to store medicines securely. The campus director provided written assurance that the concerns were addressed.

'Oberstown Children Detention Campus has provided an action plan response to address the non-compliances identified on inspection.'

In a statement issued to the Fingal Independent reacting to the findings of the HIQA report, Oberstown Director, Pat Bergin said: 'We accept the findings of the HIQA report and have worked together with the authority to produce an Action Plan addressing the key recommendations. We are pleased that the HIQA report documents the progress that has been made at Oberstown to date.

'However, as the report highlights, Oberstown is going through a period of major change and challenges remain. The Action Plan that has been developed will assist in meeting these and further build on the progress achieved at the Campus as a single facility, over the last year.'

Mr Bergin added: 'A comprehensive Action Plan developed by Oberstown following the inspection was accepted by HIQA and is currently being implemented by the Oberstown Campus.'

Local Fine Gael TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Alan Farrell said the HIQA report 'provides cause for concern and indicates unacceptable conditions in the care provided for young people in Oberstown'.

He said: 'The report notes that the Oberstown Children Detention Campus has made progress in terms of improving standards in a number of areas.'

But Deputy Farrell added: 'However, while improvements have been made, it remains wholly unacceptable that Oberstown is only compliant with two HIQA standards, and not all of them, particularly as the facility has a duty of care to some of our most vulnerable young people.'

He said: 'A string of serious incidents have taken place, such as the fire at the facility last year, escapes from the Campus, riots, and industrial action by staff. It is clear that urgent action is required to rectify the systemic issues in Oberstown. Operational problems, staffing issues, and safety concerns have been consistently highlighted.'

Fingal Independent