Stewart has also questioned the adequacy of an RQIA report into Cherry Tree published in July 2014. The ‘Independent Review of the actions taken in relation to concerns raised about the care delivered at Cherry Tree House, Carrickfergus’ report found that:
- From 2005-2013, Cherry Tree House consistently failed to comply with minimum standards of care;
- In a number of instances, the RQIA relied on the Home to provide reassurance that issues had been addressed, despite years of concerns;
- It found that inspection reports did not provide supporting evidence to show that compliance had been achieved or sustained;
- Minimum standards on continence, a frequently raised issue of concern, were never examined by the RQIA.
Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I have been dealing with concerns about the quality of nursing care in my constituency for several years now, with Cherry Tree House being the home for which I have received the most complaints and expressions of concern from relatives and former staff.
“I would like to pay tribute to those who have come forward to tell their stories and who have unfortunately had to battle with the system to try and get their voices heard, never mind getting justice. It really should not be so difficult to get matters of such great concern treated seriously.
“At least we now have the report which was published in July 2014. The Health Minister will be aware from correspondence I have sent to him that the relatives I represent have concerns about the independence of the report and do not think that it goes far enough in its recommendations.
“It is a damning report that is reflected not only in the comments throughout, but in the numerous recommendations. Questions must be asked how could a facility like this be allowed to keep operating in this way? The Northern Trust in particular would have been aware of the number of complaints coming in over several years.
“The Minister must ensure that the report’s recommendations are implemented in full and look into putting in place a new, more robust enforcement policy for RQIA.”