Health Minister to bring forward adult safeguarding bill for NI

By Louise Cullen

  • Published

Health Minister Robin Swann said he intends to bring forward a new adult safeguarding bill for NI.

It follows two reviews of Dunmurry Manor care home in Belfast.

One was by the Commissioner for Older People, which revealed a "horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment" at the home.

The other was commissioned by the Department of Health (DoH) and carried out by the social care advisory service CPEA.

It concluded adult safeguarding practice did not actively contribute to keeping Dunmurry Manor residents safe.

Their report proposed eight actions, including establishing an Adult Safeguarding/Adult Protection Change programme and an Adult Safeguarding/Protection Bill.

Mr Swann said the chief social worker had been asked to chair a new Adult Safeguarding Transformation Board to oversee that work, and, the minister said, he intended to consult on legislative reform.

'Not adequately protected'

The Northern Ireland Adult Safeguarding Partnership will be stood down, as the DoH moves towards establishing an arms-length Independent Adult Safeguarding Board.

The move has been welcomed by the Commissioner for Older People Eddie Lynch.

He said it was a "long-overdue decision" and that protection for vulnerable older people in society needed to be put in place as soon as possible.

Image caption,
It follows two reviews of Dunmurry Manor care home in Belfast

"For too long vulnerable older people in Northern Ireland have not been adequately protected in legislation," he said.

CPEA is also looking at regulation and complaints handling. Those elements of its review are due to be published in the near future, the DoH said.