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HSE launch inquiry into shocking abuse footage at care home

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Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

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Screengrabs from RTE programme Prime Time: Inside Bungalow Three

A SENIOR Health Service Executive official has vowed that shocking abuse of care home residents of the kind to be shown tonight in a TV expose will not be tolerated.

RTE's Prime Time will tonight broadcast deeply distressing undercover footage from the HSE-run Aras Attracta home for people with intellectual disabilities in Swinford, Co Mayo.

The footage shows three defenceless women being slapped, dragged and verbally abused at the centre.

The HSE's National Director for Social Care, Pat Healy, this morning said the agency has taken "immediate actions" to "improve the situation" at Aras Attracta.

He also said an independent investigation into the abuse has begun and nine staff have been suspended with pay.

"It is personally upsetting for the families, for the residents and the behaviour, service and attitude there from some of the staff is totally unacceptable," Mr Healy said.

"It has no place in the health service and it shouldn't and won't be tolerated," he added.

He told RTE's Morning Ireland that the residents are still in the home, but insisted conditions have improved.

"They are safe and they are being provided with an appropriate service," Mr Healy said.

Vulnerable

He confirmed that the HSE are to place undercover workers into care homes to identify colleagues who are abusive towards vulnerable residents.

Staff have also been urged by HSE director general Tony O'Brien to "blow the whistle" on colleagues involved in abusive practices.

The nine staff at the Mayo centre were suspended without prejudice, after the abuse was reported to the HSE the week before last.

The RTE Investigations Unit programme, called Inside Bungalow 3, the name of a unit at Aras Attracta, will be broadcast tonight. In one distressing passage, Ivy McGinty (53), who is autistic and cannot speak, had her chair taken from her as a punishment and was allowed to lie on the ground where she attempted to harm herself.

Another resident of the home, Mary Garvan (65), who is mute, had a blanket placed over her head when she sought the attention of a care worker.

Staff were repeatedly shown treating her roughly and ignoring her efforts to communicate with them.

Mary Maloney (75), who has a severe intellectual disability was seen being left on a couch for 11 hours in a row.

The footage was secretly filmed over a three-week period by a researcher posing as a work experience student.

Worried by the extent of the abuse, RTE halted its probe and immediately informed the HSE, gardai and the Health Information and Quality Authority of the abusive behaviour.

Gardai are investigating and began the process of reviewing the tapes over the weekend.

A HSE inquiry team, led by disability sector expert Christy Lynch, also met last week to begin its work.

hnews@herald.ie


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