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03 Dec 2021

Families of alleged abuse victims working with HSE on Brandon report, says Clinical Chief

Families of alleged abuse victims working with HSE on Stranorlar report, says Clinical Chief

Families of alleged abuse victims at St Joseph's Community Hospital in Stranorlar are working with the HSE to decide on the best way to publish a report into the claims, it was reported today.

Shock allegations, reported in Friday's edition of the The Irish Times, said that a HSE report they had seen had revealed that  sexual assaults had been carried out on a number of residents at St Joseph's Community Hospital in Stranorlar, by a now deceased former resident, 'Brandon'. The report was carried out by the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP), who had been commissioned the allegations.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said today that the contents of the report were "very distressing", and that the HSE was currently working with Gardai on the matter.

Yesterday the HSE said that the HSE received the initial report of the National Independent Review Panel ( the Brandon Report) in August 2020 by which time Brandon (not his real name) was no longer residing in the service.

The HSE, on receipt of the Report, acted immediately to seek assurance as to the current safety of the residents within the relevant service. The HSE’s primary concern is the current safety of residents. Regular safeguarding meetings take place within the service, which has undergone significant reforms in advancing the Community Healthcare Organisation’s strategy for disability services generally, and specifically in response to the Report findings, building on ongoing improvements in that specific service prior to the report. 

The residents of the service and their families remain our priority. All those affected are, and have been, in receipt of a range of multidisciplinary supports. These supports continue to be provided locally, with oversight by senior HSE management at national level.

Following receipt of the initial report the HSE acted to commence implementation of the recommendations – including the establishment of an independently chaired working group at regional level to carry out the service reform and redesign required. This work has been ongoing since 2020 notwithstanding the requirement for finalisation of the Report to await the conclusion of other related processes, and responses from named parties within the report. An Garda Siochána have asked us to delay publication at this point while their investigations continue.

''The findings are very upsetting for the families concerned but also for anyone who has relatives in the disability settings throughout the country,'' Dr Henry said today.

''We are working closely with HIQA in terms of safeguarding to make sure that this can never happen again.''

The report had been commissioned by the HSE to precisely discover how this abuse could have gone on for so long in a setting with so many vulnerable adults, the national broadcaster RTÉ reported today.

''We want to work with families to make sure that this can never happen again and to give families assurance that vulnerable adults in these settings are safe and well cared for,'' Dr Henry said.

Read full RTÉ story here: 

https://www.rte.ie/news/ulster/2021/1016/1254114-donegal-care-home/

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