Northern Ireland

Muckamore Hospital: Trust agrees 'contingency plan'

Muckamore Abbey Hospital
Image caption A report about Muckamore Abbey Hospital lists a series of catastrophic failings

The Belfast Trust has agreed "a further contingency plan" for Muckamore Abbey Hospital over the Christmas period.

A review into the safety of vulnerable adults at Muckamore Abbey Hospital revealed that lives were compromised.

BBC News NI understands that more than 20 staff have been suspended.

On Monday Sinn Féin's health spokesperson Pat Sheehan said there was a crisis at Muckamore and the number of staff on sick leave is expected to rise "because of the level of stress".

The trust has said that the number of staff suspensions remains unchanged since Friday.

It agreed the contingency plan on Monday morning.

"The Belfast Trust continues to work very closely with colleagues in the HSC (Health and Social Care) Board, the Public Health Agency, the RQIA (Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority) and the Department of Health, and has this morning agreed a further contingency plan for Muckamore Abbey Hospital over the Christmas period," a spokesperson for the trust said.

"The trust is very grateful to all staff for their flexibility and commitment over the coming days.

"Additional arrangements have been put in place, along with the normal availability of senior team members of staff and the director on-call."

The BBC has asked the trust to give details of what the contingency plan involves.

Image copyright Belfast Trust
Image caption A seclusion room was described as a "dark dungeon" by a parent of a patient

A confidential report about Muckamore Abbey Hospital charted a series of catastrophic failings and outlines that there was a culture of tolerating harm.

CCTV footage, taken over a three-month period, shows patients being pulled, hit, punched, flicked and verbally abused by nursing staff.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust have started investigations into Muckamore Abbey Hospital.

Over the weekend, a psychiatric intensive care unit at the hospital was temporarily shut due to a shortage of staff.

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