Muckamore Abbey scandal: health chief apologises to families

Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Co Antrim is subject to a major police investigation into abuse of patients
Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Co Antrim is subject to a major police investigation into abuse of patients
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The Department of Health permanent secretary has apologised to families of patients caught up in the Muckamore Abbey scandal.

Two more nurses at the Antrim hospital have been suspended, bringing the total number to 15.

It follows a damning review into the safety of adults with learning difficulties at the hospital.

Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly met the families on Monday and told them he was “angered that vulnerable people were let down”.

He said it was “important to me to apologise to families face-to-face” for what happened, the BBC reported.

The confidential report detailed “appalling behaviours that fell well short of what is acceptable”, he said.

Mr Pengelly said he agreed with the report findings, adding: “No-one should have to call Muckamore their home in future when there are better options for their care.”

He told the families that the hospital would be returned to a “hospital providing acute care and not simply a residential facility”.

Alternative accommodation would have to be found for long-term patients.

Mr Pengelly said he expected them to be moved to other care facilities by the end of 2019.

The report listed a series of catastrophic failings;-

:: CCTV footage showed patients being harmed by staff - and staff did not speak out

:: The use of the seclusion room was not monitored

:: Patients were significantly likely to be harmed by peers