Northern Ireland

Valley Nursing Home: Admissions suspended at County Tyrone facility

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Media caption"Substantial failings" at County Tyrone care home - Olive MacLeod, RQIA chief executive

Admissions have been suspended at a County Tyrone care home following "substantial failings".

Health watchdog the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) issued seven failure to comply notices to Valley Nursing Home in Clogher after information from a staff whistleblower.

A number of issues were identified, including the welfare of patients and infection prevention.

The home's owners said it was working to fix the problems.

One issue related to the language used by some staff, in the presence of inspectors, with a number of patients being described as "feeders" and the mealtime experience as "feeding time".

Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew said there are about 80 residents at the home, receiving a range of care packages.

Image caption Admissions have been suspended at the County Tyrone home

The RQIA issued the failure to comply notices to the home on 16 July.

During one unannounced inspection earlier in July, it was found there was "no identified person in charge of the nursing home".

Problems found at the facility also included:

  • patient supervision was poor, inconsistent and inadequate in some parts of the home;
  • issues about the refurbishment of the home;
  • Seating at meal times;
  • management arrangements;
  • no evidence of any formal/informal activities taking place with patients;
  • governance arrangements;
  • clinical waste not effectively managed.

Olive MacLeod, RQIA chief executive, said the home was inspected on foot of information from a staff whistleblower.

She said it was highly unusual to have to issue seven notices.

She told BBC News NI that "substantial failings in relation to patient care, the environment and the culture" of the home had been detected.

"We observed a small number, but one is too many, staff using demeaning language describing the meal times and the people who needed assistance to be fed," she said.

"That was very worrying. That would tell us that potentially there is a culture that does not respect people and their rights."

MPS Care, the facility's owners, said the home was "working closely with RQIA and local trusts to ensure any matters that need improvement are dealt with in a timely and swift manner".

"The Southern and Western Trusts are communicating on a frequent basis with the home and the provisions of care have not been compromised," a statement said.

'Deeply concerning'

The Southern Trust said it has recently suspended new admissions to the home.

"The Trust continues to work closely with residents, families, the management team of the Valley Nursing Home, other trusts and RQIA to address any issues that arise in line with regional policy and procedures."

Mr Gildernew said the findings were "a deeply concerning and distressing development for all the residents".

"Seven failure to comply notices have been issued which is an unusually high number," he added.

"It is not clear how standards within the home were allowed to get to this stage, but it is clear that there will be considerable challenges for management and the health trusts to address."