The HSE is two launch two investigations into claims of negligent care at a home for intellectually disabled residents following revelations made in the RTÉ documentary Primetime.
The RTÉ documentary focused on negligent care at a home for the intellectually disabled in Swinford, County Mayo – Áras Attracta. “Inside Bungalow Three” contained video footage of residents being physically and emotionally abused that had been secretly recorded by a member of RTÉ´s investigative team posing as a work experience student.
Among the most disturbing examples of negligent care shown in the documentary were scenes of the residents being kicked and slapped, denied access to the bathroom and being sat upon. The abuse of defenceless residents prompted Taoiseach Enda Kenny to described the negligent care at the home for the intellectually disabled as “sickening”.
Prior to the broadcast of the program, RTÉ contacted the Health Service Executive (HSE), who have now launched two investigations – Christy Lynch, chief executive of the KARE organisation for people with disabilities in County Kildare will chair an investigation into the allegations specifically made in “Inside Bungalow Three”, while Dr Kevin McCoy, a consultant and former member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, has been appointed by the HSE to lead a review of services at Áras Attracta generally.
The director general of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, said in a statement that the examples shown of negligent care at the home for the intellectually disabled “falls well below the standards that we expect in the health services”. Several members of staff have subsequently been suspended, and the Gardaí and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) are also conducting investigations into the alleged abuse at Áras Attracta.
Tony O´Brien also apologised to the residents of Áras Attracta and their families for the negligent care that had taken place. He said that the HSE did not wish to “pre-empt the findings of an independent investigation” but that it has taken several immediate actions to “guarantee that a safe and caring environment exists for the residents of Bungalow Three”.