Older people's champion defends '˜flawed' report

The commissioner for older people has hit back at the millionaire CEO of a care home company who criticised the findings of a 16-month investigation into one of his homes.

Saturday, 7th July 2018, 7:15 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:46 pm
Dunmurry Manor

Gordon Sanders, CEO of Runwood Homes, criticised the findings of an investigation into Dunmurry Manor care home on the outskirts of Belfast which found a “horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment”.

The investigation was launched by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, after concerns about the home were raised by residents’ families and whistle-blowers.

The investigation found a host of care failings at the home, including what the commissioner described as “residents suffering harm through physical and sexual assaults”.

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He said some residents had spent “their last few months living in appalling circumstances”.

Following the report’s publication Mr Sanders, whose family wealth was estimated in the Sunday Times Rich List last year at £193 million, said he was “truly sorry” for failings at Dunmurry Manor.

However, in an interview with the BBC, he said: “We’re finding the outcome (of the commissioner’s investigation) flawed in some areas and we’ll be challenging those issues.”

Mr Sanders also claimed the problems at the home, for which he said he had “apologised profusely” to the families involved, were “isolated cases”.

“I have apologised for those isolated cases that we felt we were failing in,” he told the broadcaster.

“In some cases where we were, I have apologised and will continue to apologise as necessary.”

The commissioner, however, hit back at Mr Sanders’ comments.

“In relation to Mr Saunders’ comments that the commissioner’s investigation into Dunmurry Manor Care Home is flawed, all 61 findings of the independent investigation were based on evidence received and were reviewed by the commissioner’s expert panel,” Mr Lynch said.

“The draft findings were notified to the relevant authorities, including Runwood Homes, in January 2018. They had an opportunity to test these draft findings and to provide evidence to refute them. Runwood has until October to provide a formal response to the commissioner’s recommendations, outlining what will be done, and by when.”

Last week, the permanent secretary at the Department of Health apologised for failings at Dunmurry Manor.