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Two whistleblowers suspended over nursing home claims, Seanad told

A HIQA inspection carried out at the home in May of this year found the authority hadn’t been informed adequately of elder abuse allegations.

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TWO WHISTLEBLOWERS WHO work at a nursing home in Co Galway have been suspended from work as a result of raising concerns about the treatment of residents, the Seanad was told today.

The claims relate to Àras Cois Fharraige — a private nursing home in Spiddal.

“I’ve been told that there are two whistleblowers who have been suspended because they drew attention to what they saw as misconduct within that nursing home,” Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said, using his parliamentary privilege.

They are concerned with the treatment of patients within the nursing home.

Ó Clochartaigh said it was a “very serious issue” that should be brought to the attention of the Minister for Health.

The results of an inspection by health watchdog HIQA carried out on 14 May of this year raised concerns that the ‘person in charge’ had failed to adequately notify some “serious events” that had occurred at the centre to the Authority.

“Allegations of elder abuse and staff misconduct, that had been brought to the attention of the provider, had not been notified to the Authority within the required time frame,” the report found.

The inspection report noted that the notifications had “subsequently been formally submitted”.

HIQA’s summary of findings notes that the inspection was carried out “following receipt of unsolicited information by the Authority”.

Later, the report details how “some staff members stated that they had witnessed abuse, which had been brought to the attention of the provider”.

And it states that the allegations are now being investigated “in accordance with the centre’s policy”.

Patricia Folan — identified as the ‘person in charge’ in the HIQA report — told TheJournal.ie that the claims raised by Senator Ó Clochartaigh were “factually incorrect”.

She said she was awaiting legal advice on the issue, and was prevented from commenting any further.

Read: Whistleblower protection legislation comes into effect today

Read: How should TDs and Senators deal with whistleblowers? Here’s some advice they got… 

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