‘Inhuman and degrading treatment’ at NI care home

Dunmurry Manor  Care home on the Outskirts of Belfast. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker Press
Dunmurry Manor Care home on the Outskirts of Belfast. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker Press

An investigation into a care home in Co Antrim has uncovered “a horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment” suffered by some residents, the Commissioner for Older People has said.

The investigation was launched in 2016 by the Commissioner, Eddie Lynch, in response to complaints from both former staff and the families of residents about standards of care at Dunmurry Manor, a home operated by a company called Runwood Homes Ltd.

Mr Lynch said: “When I launched my investigation into Dunmurry Manor nothing prepared me for what I was about to uncover.

“I found that some residents who were extremely vulnerable, living with dementia, experienced a horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment, with many spending their last few months living in appalling circumstances. There were significant failures in the safeguarding and care of many residents in Dunmurry Manor, with residents suffering harm through physical and sexual assaults.

“My investigation found that many of these terrible incidents occurred during periods of time when the regulator, the RQIA, reported the home to be meeting the required standards of care.”

Earlier this week, the Department of Health published a report by a social care, health and management consultancy known as CPEA following a two-day review. The report found Dunmurry to be a “safe place for people to live quality lives.” The department said this was in keeping with RQIA’s most recent findings from its inspections of the home.

The Commissioner for Older People, however, criticised the RQIA (Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority) for its failure to uncover “the extent of the problems experienced by many residents” despite “carrying out 23 inspections in a 39 month period”.

The CEO of Runwood Homes, meanwhile, has said he is “truly sorry” for the failures at Dunmurry.

Gordon Sanders, CEO of Runwood Homes Group UK, said: “I am truly sorry we failed to deliver the high standards of care our residents at Dunmurry Manor had the right to expect and that, because of those failures, they and their families have had to endure this distressing experience.”

He added: “The Board of Directors acknowledge and take full responsibility for these failures and the lack of oversight that could have ensured they did not happen. The Managing Director, Logan Logeswaran, has in fact resigned his position from Runwood Homes Group UK as of yesterday.”

Mr Sanders continued: “I want to assure residents and their families we have learned from our mistakes and will ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Ultimately, I cannot put the clock back - but I can make sure there are positive changes for the future.”

More to follow.