The findings of an investigation into abuse of vulnerable adults at a residential care home in Derry have been described as “shameful, shocking and disturbing”.
Derry SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey, who chairs the Assembly’s All Party Group on Learning Disability, said the scale of the investigation into abuse at Ralphs Close was “extremely worrying.”
“The Trust says it has apologised to the families of loved ones concerned and for any distress caused to them, but this is too little too late – for both the residents subjected to abuse and for their loves ones who have spent endless hours, stressed and worried.
“To hear that 22 of the original 45 allegations of abuse have been substantiated – regardless of whatever category of abuse they fall into – is shocking and disturbing. That five of the 22 were judged to be intentional physical abuse, and that these occurred over a two-year period is sickening.”
Mr Ramsey continued:“Families of residents in Ralph’s Close placed their faith and trust in the health system. They believed their loved ones were being cared for with compassion and dignity in a secure and safe environment; where they would come to no harm, but the system has failed them.
“Abuse - physical, psychological or verbal - must never be tolerated, but to think this was levelled at some of the most vulnerable people in our society; some who have no voice and can’t speak for themselves, is shameful.”
He said the onus is now on the Western Trust to “live up to its duty and expectation that those in its care must be protected.”
“New safeguarding legislation must be strictly implemented and adhered to so that lessons have been learned - not just for the Trust but for all institutions which are trusted with the care of some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” he said.