The Chief Executive of the Health Service Executive said the number of cases of physical or sexual abuse of people in care homes could be more than initially anticipated, rpeorts RTE.
Bernard Gloster spoke after the safety assessment team found “reasonable grounds for concern” for 21 residents of an HSE run home for physical or sexual abuse.
The care home was the subject of two reviews in April 2020 following “a serious incident” at the home.
In June 2020, a medical assistant (“Mr. Z”) who was working from home was sentenced to 11 years in prison for raping a resident nicknamed “Emily” for the National Independent Review Panel (NIPR) report.
The review analyzes the incident situation according to management principles and identifies learning opportunities.
A second review, which was carried out by a team of social workers, was to determine whether further reportable incidents might have occurred.
The HSE has published a summary of the NIRP report and the findings of the Collateral Review Panel, reports RTE.
Another 21 cases of suspected assaults on nursing home residents have already been referred to the Gardaí, the executive director said.
“There absolutely could be more indicators of concern that would emerge,” Mr Gloster told RTÉ’s News at One.
He said this was one of the reasons he engaged an outside security expert, Jackie McIlroy, to investigate further.
“Despite the very good work of the National Independent Review Panel and our safeguarding team in the area I’ve asked Jackie McIlroy to tell me whether or not I need to go back and look at every file since this person was employed in the service. She is very clear that the person who committed this crime, who is now serving a custodial sentence, essentially was able to groom and manipulate a system to a point where he was able to commit a most heinous act on an old woman who had lived her life. There is no point in us trying to resile from that in any way. It’s quite shocking,” Mr Gloster said, reports RTE.
When asked why not all files had already been reviewed, Mr Gloster replied: “Because of time.”
He described Emily’s rape as “almost unbelievable and quite shocking.”
“I want to again restate our most sincere apology to Emily’s family and indeed to the families of over 22,000 older people who are in nursing home care across Ireland today whom I have no doubt since this story first emerged last month, have concern. I want to recognise that concern and I want to say that we’re doing everything we can to ensure the best levels of safeguarding. I met Emily’s family last week. The one thing they’re very clear about is they want their privacy respected but they’re very happy for the issues to be talked about,” reports RTE.
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